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Yerington Paiute Tribe of Nevada

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering listing the former Anaconda Copper Co. mine in Lyon County as a federal Superfund site, saying toxins may be leaking into drinking water supplies. EPA involvement is at the request of the Yerington and Walker River Paiute tribes, who claim the state failed to address the mine hazards for 20 years, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Jan. 10. Yerington Paiutes face "imminent and substantial endangerment" from groundwater seeping from the mine, which is laced with arsenic and other heavy metals, and Superfund designation is warranted," tribal chairman Kenneth Roberts wrote to the EPA regional administrator. "Since we live in the shadow of the site and its releases will continue to threaten our lands and lives, we hope that you will not allow an effective site response to languish further," Roberts wrote. The EPA concluded the mine poses a significant threat, Marcus wrote in a Dec. 18 letter to Gov. Kenny Guinn. Should the Anaconda mine be declared a Superfund site, it would be Nevada's second. In 1990, the EPA placed a 100-mile stretch of the Carson River on the Superfund list because of mercury contamination associated with Comstock mining activity more than a century ago.

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