scott tiptonThere’s no question that a Superfund designation for Silverton is high on the EPA’s “to do, badly” list, and the lines in the sludge have been drawn dividing Coloradans along county and party lines.

Supporting the economically devastating federal invasion are some business owners and politicians in Durango who would not suffer the economic pinch. Opposing Superflub are those who would be directly affected in Silverton, as well as their Republican congressional representative, Scott Tipton.

In comments before the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Tipton, a Cortez Republican, stated: “Designating Silverton a Superfund site … could severely damage the town’s reputation and prove costly to the local economy.”

The hearing last week was chaired by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who along with Tipton is pushing for a Superfund alternative called Good Samaritan legislation that would allow private companies to cleanup mines without lingering in a community for years.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet wants to revisit a mining law written in 1872 to allow the government to collect royalties for hard rock mining. In other words, Democrats want companies that are currently abiding by strict EPA and Interior Department regulations to essentially pay fines for the damages done by companies that have been out of business for generations.

And what would that money be used for? To pay the salaries of bureaucrats who want to create Superfund sites.

The Durango Herald has clearly sided with Democrats and locals, calling opposition “ideological and largely academic” that they want replaced “with a pragmatic mentality, unconcerned with labels.”

Calling Tipton a “hand-wringer,” the Luddites at the Herald are insisting we stick to the Superfund model, which is so fraught with problems that no community in the U.S. wants it in their backyard.

Sadly, Superfund has indeed become a label, branded with a tarnished reputation among bankers and realtors, businesses looking to invest in a community and new homebuyers.

Tipton and Gardner should be commended for backing a modern solution that won’t destroy the community of Silverton in the process.