Mountain News 

Aspen, Sun Peaks set new industry standard

Page 7 of 7

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Federal money will be used, probably next year, to remediate an old mine site on a creek above the town of Crested Butte. There are some worries that the town’s drinking water could be tainted by dangerous chemicals in what is described as a worst-case scenario.

The Standard Mine was operated from 1931 until 1977. Approximately 10 gallons of highly acidic water per minute flows from the mine into a tailings pile, which is retained by a non-engineered dam. The concern is that the dam could fail, causing the tainted water to flow into Crested Butte’s water intake system.

Impacts on wetlands debated

WOLF CREEK PASS, Colo. — Two federal agencies are sparring about the potential impact to wetlands if a virtual town is created next to the Wolf Creek ski area.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has authority for giving out permits when projects involve wetlands. However, the Environmental Protection Agency contends that it has ultimate authority under the Clean Water Act to determine what constitutes "waters of the United States," notes the Durango Telegraph.

Opponents suggest that Clear Creek Channel co-founder Red McCombs and others in the development team have been pulling strings in Washington D.C. in order to reduce the EPA’s involvement. EPA scientists tell the newspaper that they remain dubious that the project can be developed without impacting wetlands.

Opponents also remain dubious about a recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruling that the project will not "appreciably reduce the likelihood of both the survival and recovery of the lynx" in Colorado. "We can put little faith in official federal agency pronouncements on the Village at Wolf Creek," said Jeff Berman, a founder of Colorado Wild, a watchdog group.

Berman said the Forest Service and other agencies have been trying to keep the public in the dark. He said he was reserving judgment on the lynx until he has seen how the biological opinion used to reach that conclusion was written and by who.

He noted that in at least one case in the past, the attorneys for McCombs had "ghost written" a document that was later adopted by a federal agency.

Interactive Map

Today's COVID-19 cases in Canada

Click each province to see the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, recovered patients, and tests administered...more.

Latest in Mountain News

More by Allen Best

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation