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For Immediate Release: August 4th, 2016

One year after the Gold King Mine disaster, Conservation Colorado today released new public opinion research showing that 67 percent of Colorado voters want to see their elected officials do more to clean up Colorado’s tens of thousands of unsafe and polluting mines.

“It’s been a full year since Colorado experienced one of its worst environmental disasters, and yet thousands of mines continue to threaten our waterways and public safety,” said Kristin Green with Conservation Colorado. “For too long, our state has suffered from the impacts of polluting mines that litter our landscapes. Colorado voters want to see more steps taken to prevent mining pollution, which is why Conservation Colorado will continue to prioritize seeking commonsense solutions now and into the 2017 legislative session.”

Additional results from the poll include:

  • 86 percent of Colorado voters say they are concerned about Colorado’s rivers and streams.

  • 88 percent believe it’s a problem that tens of thousands Colorado’s polluting mine sites have not been cleaned up.

  • 70 percent say mining companies should be held financially responsible for the damage and pollution that they cause.

  • 53 percent support closing loopholes that allow mining companies to avoid their cleanup responsibilities.

  • 54 percent support updating our nation’s outdated mining laws.

The Gold King Mine disaster occurred on August 5, 2015, where three million gallons of toxic mining waste were released into the Animas River in southwest Colorado causing large-scale damage. Colorado has approximately 17,000 abandoned or inactive mine sites that have yet to be cleaned up and made safe, many of which are leaking contaminated water into rivers and streams. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 40 percent of headwaters of Western rivers are contaminated by mining pollution.

This poll was conducted by Chism Strategies, has a representative sample size of 600 regular voters in Colorado, and has a margin of error of four percent.

Kristin Green from Conservation Colorado is available for interviews about mining issues and policy. Brad Chism at Chism Strategies is available for interviews regarding the data and methodology of this research.

Contact: Jessica Goad, Communications Director, 720-206-4235