it took nearly a decade, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally got its pound of flesh from Canuck-based venture capitalist Robert Friedland.Friedland has agreed in an out-of-court settlement to pay the EPA $28.5 million over nine years for a 1992 cyanide spill at his Summitville gold mine in Colorado. The disaster laid waste to a 30-kilometre stretch of the Alamosa River.
It's something of a pyrrhic victory, though, for eco activists. The money is nowhere near the estimated $200 million needed to clean up the site.
EPA spokesperson Mike Risner says the affected area still resembles a moonscape. Ten years later, it's only recently that grass has begun to grow.
"Obviously, the settlement was not as good as we would have liked," Risner says. "But even if we'd gone to court and won, we would have had a hard time collecting."
Friedland's spokesperson, Bob Williamson, was reluctant to offer any comment except to say when reached by NOW that the payout shouldn't be viewed as an admission that Friedland's to blame for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. EDM