THE SAN JUANS AND THE RESHAPING OF CERCLA AND HARD ROCK MINING

Anthony Edwards presented at the Mountain Studies Institute's 2017 Mining Conference in Ouray, Colorado which included an Agenda with a series of legal presentations. The Sholler Edwards, LLC Presentation , titled "The San Juans and the Reshaping of CERCLA and Hard Rock Mining" included a legal update on the various cases surrounding the Bonita Peak Superfund and the Gold King Mine Spill, which have been filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C.), the Federal Court of Tort Claims, and the U.S. District Court of New Mexico. To date, the litigation hold includes over 50,000 documents exceeding 1.3 million printed pages of information. The following is the description of the presentation:

It is undeniable that the Gold King Mine Spill focused international attention on the U.S. “Mineral Estate” and the acid mine drainage legacy of the mountain west. Unfortunately, we remain in the same eddy, a legal abyss, which we were churning in before the spill occurred. However, three lawsuits associated with the event and the subsequent Bonita Peak Mining District National Priority Listing are developing a foundation which will result in outcomes that will significantly impact the intersection of the Clean Water Act, CERCLA and Hard Rock Mining. These matters include New Mexico vs. Colorado in the United States Supreme Court, Sunnyside Gold Corp. vs. EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit and New Mexico and Navajo Nation vs. the EPA et al. (Consolidated Cases) in the District Court of New Mexico. The issues in question include the EPA’s “Responder” theory and agency liability, State sovereignty as it relates to CERCLA, and the efficacy of the EPA’s Hazard Ranking System as it relates to sites being placed on the NPL. The presenter will include a brief discussion of each of the matters outlining the issues at stake, the potential outcomes and consequences, and an update on where each case is procedurally.

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