epaThe EPA has discovered a backdoor into communities that have blocked their advances to turn their towns into a Superfund site — blowout said mine causing an environmental disaster that leaves the town no option but to allow the federal takeover.

It worked in Silverton, it will work elsewhere.

San Juan County leaders there voted last night to bring in the EPA to clean up its mess, and conduct cleanups at nearly 50 other mines while they just so happen to be in the neighborhood.

Local officials had little choice in the matter, as this was the only way the EPA agreed to keep treating contaminated water pouring out of the Gold King mine blowhole that they created.

Residents and local leaders had 72 hours to review the final plans before making their decision — the federal government should be ashamed, but we expect they are too busy celebrating.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has been invisible in the negotiations between San Juan County and the EPA, but now that the deed is done and the cow is out of the barn, he’s vowing to address their concerns and close the barn door.

“Hundreds of abandoned mines in Colorado are polluting our waters, endangering the health of Coloradans and holding back local economies. Cleaning up this pollution and protecting people in the region is a priority for Silverton and San Juan County,” Bennet said.
“A Superfund designation will help expedite the cleanup efforts. We will continue to work closely with local and state officials to ensure the community’s remaining concerns about implementation are taken into consideration throughout this process. We will also push for funding as soon as possible to ensure that the cleanup proceeds quickly.”

Superfund has done many things, “expediting” cleanups is not one of those accomplishments.

Just ask Leadville.

As for the “remaining concerns,” we’re doubtful Bennet can wave a magic wand to protect property values. And, when Superfund digs in and refuses to leave, we’re skeptical Bennet will do anything about that, either.

It’s a shame and a crime this happened to Silverton, and states across the country should take heed. When the EPA shows up at your mine and says “we’re from the government and we’re here to help,” what they really mean, is disaster is looming, you will be blamed and we’re coming in whether you like it or not.