Editorial Board

The Silver Lining of the Gold King Mine Spill

It's a chance to reform how the EPA and Congress deal with abandoned mines.

Not the usual hue.

Photographer: Theo Stroomer/Getty Images

On the morning of Aug. 5, high in the Colorado Rockies, contractors for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were digging through dirt and rock at the entrance to a century-old gold mine, concerned about the toxin-laced water that had been leaking out. "All of a sudden," in the supervisor's words, "there was a little spurt." Within hours, 3 million gallons of water heavy in arsenic, lead and aluminum had turned the Animas River mustard yellow.

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