Elliott covered natural resources in Colorado and the West, including the Colorado River and other water issues, air quality, oil and gas, mine waste, forest health and wildfires. He also reported on veterans issues and major military commands in Colorado, and he helped cover the 2012 Aurora theater shootings and trial. He retired in September after 45 years in journalism, the last 20 years with the AP in Denver.
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In August 2015, three million gallons of contaminated mining wastewater broke through a plug of rock and debris at the mouth of an entrance to the defunct Gold King Mine outside Silverton, Colorado, while EPA subcontractors were examining it for remediation purposes. The heavy-metals-laden water cascaded into a creek feeding the Animus River, turning it lurid orange, and from there gushed into the San Juan, which flows through several states and Native American nations, including the Navajo Nation. This is just one of thousands of abandoned mines in the Western United States leaking contaminated water, many of them Superfund sites. This panel will use the Gold King Mine spill to illustrate the scope of the problem and give tips on how to mine Superfund documents and archives for crucial environmental stories.
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