October 3

Correction Mine Waste LeakNew Mexico story

by The Associated Press Posted Jan 14, 2016 11:37 am MDT Last Updated Jan 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In a story Jan. 14 about New Mexico’s plan to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Associated Press erroneously attributed a statement by an EPA spokeswoman. The statement should have been attributed to EPA spokeswoman Nancy Grantham, not Christine St. Clair.A corrected version of the story is below:New Mexico is 1st to issue plans to sue EPA over mine spillNew Mexico plans to sue the EPA, Colorado and two mine companies over a massive spill that contaminated rivers in three Western statesBy RUSSELL CONTRERAS and SUSAN MONTOYA BRYANAssociated PressNew Mexico plans to sue the federal government and the owners of two Colorado mines that were the source of a massive spill last year that contaminated rivers in three Western states, officials said Thursday.The New Mexico Environment Department said it filed a notice of its intention to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the spill, becoming the first to do so. The lawsuit also would target the state of Colorado and the owners of the Gold King and Sunnyside Mines.An EPA cleanup crew accidentally unleashed millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater in August at the inactive Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. It fouled rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico with contaminants including arsenic and lead, temporarily shutting down drinking-water supplies and raising concerns about long-term effects to agriculture.The spill sent a yellow plume through the Animas Valley and into New Mexico and the San Juan River, forcing farmers and municipalities to shut off their taps. Farmers and ranchers on the Navajo Nation were left without a key water source for their crops and livestock for weeks.The New Mexico regulators said they will sue if the EPA does not begin to take meaningful measures to clean up the affected areas and agree to a long-term plan that will research and monitor the effects of the spill.“From the very beginning, the EPA failed to hold itself accountable in the same way that it would a private business,” said Ryan Flynn, state Environment Department cabinet secretary.The federal agency is reviewing New Mexico’s plans to sue, spokeswoman Nancy Grantham said.“EPA is working closely with the states to develop a long-term monitoring plan to evaluate potential environmental impacts from the spill and will be meeting with representatives in early February,” Grantham said. “EPA is also reimbursing state and local agencies for response-related costs associated with the spill.”Larry Perino, a reclamation manager for Sunnyside Mine, said the mine was not involved in the spill and has no responsibility.“We will vigorously defend ourselves from any potential legal action,” he said.A representative for Gold King Mine did not immediately respond to an email requests seeking comment.Roger Hudson, a spokesman for the Colorado attorney general, said the office has not yet seen the notice and had no comment. Hudson did not say if Colorado also planned to sue the EPA.Flynn said Colorado balked when New Mexico asked for information about the spill’s effects on the Animas River watershed that the two states share. In fact, Colorado asked New Mexico to pay about $20,000 for a public record’s request, he said.The Navajo Nation has said it may consider legal action against the EPA but nothing formal has been filed.The spill occurred when workers for the agency and its contractor, Environmental Restoration LLC, started excavation work intended to allow them to safely drain the mine.Some criticized the EPA for failing to take adequate precautions despite warnings that a blowout could occur. But Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said a review by her agency showed the spill was “clearly unintentional.”People who live near the idled and leaking Gold King Mine say local authorities and mining companies have spent decades spurning federal help to clean up the site.The owners of the two mines have been disputing the source of the wastewater buildup for years. Colorado-based San Juan Corp., which owns the Gold King Mine, claims it stems from a project in the 1990s to plug a segment of the Sunnyside Mine. They say the plug caused the wastewater to build up and get pushed into surrounding mines, including Gold King.Canada’s Kinross Corp., which owns Sunnyside, disputes those claims.In 2011, Kinross offered $6.5 million to help clean mining waste from the upper Animas River while vowing to “vigorously contest” any effort to make Sunnyside liable for Superfund-related cleanup costs.The mine has yet to spend the money but supports a “collaborative approach” among various parties, Sunnyside reclamation director Kevin Roach said.___Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt in Denver contributed to this report.___Follow Susan Montoya Bryan on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/susanmbryanNM and Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras.. Correction: Mine Waste Leak-New Mexico story FILE – In this Aug. 14, 2015 file photo, water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident, in the spillway about a quarter mile downstream from the mine outside Silverton, Colo. New Mexico officials said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 that they plan to sue the federal government and the owners of two Colorado mines that were the source of a massive spill last year that contaminated rivers in three Western states. An EPA cleanup crew accidentally triggered the spill in August at the inactive Gold King mine near Silverton, Colo.(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File) read more

October 2

Security Council calls on all parties to Yemen conflict to take urgent

In a statement to the press, the Council underlined its full support to relief workers delivering aid “in very difficult conditions across Yemen.” Council members expressed concern at all reports of obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Yemen. They welcomed the establishment of the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM), and called upon all States to adhere to its provisions. Urging all parties to fulfil their commitments to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including measures to further ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, the Council further underlined the importance of the delivery of commercial goods and fuel for civilian purposes to all parts of Yemen. Further to the statement, the Security Council called upon all sides to comply with international humanitarian law, including to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects, to end the recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, and to work urgently with the UN and humanitarian aid organizations to bring assistance to those in need throughout the country.“The members of the Security Council urged all parties to the conflict in Yemen to take urgent steps towards resuming a ceasefire,” said the statement, emphasizing that cessation of hostilities and compliance with related Council resolutions should lead to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. The members of the Security Council further emphasized the importance of establishing fully the “De-escalation and Coordination Committee.”The members of the Security Council also urged the Yemeni parties to fulfil their commitments made during the last round of talks between 15-20 December 2015 and further urged the parties to participate in a new round of talks, building on the progress that has been achieved so far on ending the conflict. Calling on all Yemeni parties to engage in political talks “without preconditions and in good faith, including by resolving their differences through dialogue and consultations in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism,” the Council underlined its strong support for the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in facilitating these talks.In a briefing to the Council yesterday, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed said a “deep divide” between the warring parties in Yemen, following the collapse of a truce, is forestalling the next round of peace talks. As such, he called on Council members to support efforts towards a cessation of hostilities. “The parties are divided over whether a new round of talks should be convened with or without a new cessation of hostilities,” he explained, adding that: “I have not, unfortunately, received sufficient assurances that a new cessation of hostilities, should I call for one, would be respected.” read more