We are now in round 2 (or is it round 3?) of the attempt by U.S. Energy to get a state-approved Voluntary Clean-up Plan (VCUP) for the old Keystone Mine on Mt. Emmons. We were successful in getting the state to withdraw their approval for the initial VCUP application submitted by U.S. Energy last fall; now they’re trying again. While the concept of cleaning up the old Keystone Mine is applaudable, it must be a plan that fully protects the community and our drinking water from the toxic water in the Keystone Mine
It was clear to us that the initial VCUP proposal submitted by U.S. Energy last fall did not adequately protect our community and our drinking water. In a nutshell, the plan was to plug the mine. Naturally, we were concerned the toxic water in the mine will seep out elsewhere, including into Crested Butte’s drinking watershed.
The latest news is that last week U.S. Energy submitted an amended VCUP application to the state. The amended VCUP application is pretty much the same as the initial VCUP application. We are working with state officials, the Town of Crested Butte, and our own experts to establish whether the VCUP is a sound plan. And we are reviewing the application to determine if it is complete and accurate. Unless we can get the deadline pushed back, we have only until March 17th to complete our review. We will keep you updated as this process continues. Read the amended VCUP application here.
In the meantime, please contact our elected state officials to let them know that you are concerned about the adequacy of this clean-up plan and the short timeframe for review of the plan. By the way, that short review period applies to the state too, not just to us – so their own internal review will be rushed unless we can get the timeframe extended. There is too much at stake for this process to be rushed!
Governor John Hickenlooper
Senator Gail Schwartz, District 5
Representative Millie Hamner, HD 61