The former environmental manager of Colorado's bankrupt Summitville mine, one of the worst and most expensive environmental disasters in Colorado history, was indicted June l6 on 35 charges of conspiracy, felony violations of the Clean Water Act, and two counts of falsifying records. EPA investigators charge that in l990 mid-level manager Tom Chisholm knowingly discharged pollutants such as copper, iron, lead and cyanide into several tributaries of the Rio Grande River. The southern Colorado mine shut down in l990, but the cleanup of its toxic waste has cost the public $70 million so far, with $50 million more projected. For his part in the pollution, Chisholm faces penalties of $250,000 in fines and up to five years in prison. Officials in the mining industry have other concerns, as Paul Jones of the Colorado Mining Association's Task Force on Summitville told The Denver Post: "I'm concerned that they're going after underlings in a company that's no longer in existence." Robert Friedland, owner of Summitville's parent company Galactic Resources, has not been been charged, and EPA officials had no comment about whether or not he was being investigated. But Roger Flynn of the Western Mining Action Project said this indictment may be the first step in a bigger operation to get taxpayers' money back: "It's a welcome sign that people with direct knowledge of this sort of pollution can be brought to justice."


*Shea Andersen