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Colorado mining incident prompts C.O. spotlight


Three million gallons of toxic waste have turned the Animas River in Colorado a mustard yellow color. The sludge leaked from an abandoned mine called the Gold King Mine. The Environmental Protection Agency accidentally caused the leak while working on the site.

Colorado is one of many states, like Oregon, with thousands of abandoned mines.

Local campers are already learning from the EPA’s mistake. Eco-campers are learning about the the Deschutes River and pollution’s ripple effect. They also learn about sustainable energy.

The Colorado community is outraged, but many communities have abandoned mines quietly sitting in their backyards as well.

In Deschutes County, there are almost 500 mines. They were mostly used to mine sand and gravel. In Crook County, there are even more, almost 700.

Many of those mines were used for metal, like mercury and uranium. In Jefferson County, there are about 300.

John Barber, a BLM expert, says Central Oregon is different than Colorado because most mines on the High Desert are in rocky buttes, not near major waterways.However, he said there are clean-up efforts going on across the state.

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