Original Story by Robert Perea, Reno Gazette Journal April 5, 2016
When efforts to come up with private funding to clean up a portion of the Anaconda mine site near Yerington fell through, that left Gov. Brian Sandoval with no choice but to agree to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to place the site on the Superfund National Priorities List.
On Tuesday, Sandoval reluctantly agreed to the listing of the site on the NPL, but not before gaining several assurances from the EPA that it will comply with several conditions the state and local stakeholders requested. Among those is the understanding that it would defer to private cleanup of the site if alternative funding emerges, including the possible re-mining of the site.
“I think it’s a great deal,” Yerington Mayor George Dini said. “People are probably more glad than sad it’s listed because it’s time to clean it up. Our concerns were all given consideration.”
The EPA sent a letter to Gov. Brian Sandoval on Dec. 22, giving him until Jan. 29 to respond to its intention to place the mine site on the NPL list. Sandoval responded by asking for more time to allow for local parties to work together to find a solution without involving the EPA. The EPA gave Sandoval until March 29.
In the meantime, Sandoval and other state officials met with local stakeholders as they attempted to put together the funding to clean up the site. EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld, who sent the original letter to Sandoval, also went to Yerington to discuss the site with local officials. Sandoval credited that visit with community leaders and the Yerington and Walker River Paiute tribes as leading to Sandoval’s decision to agree to the NPL listing — after the EPA agreed to work with the state by agreeing to several assurances that resolve the concerns many of the local stakeholders had about the NPL listing.
Lyon County Manager Jeff Page announced on Feb. 4 that county and city officials and private enterprise had come up with a plan to clean up the mine site. However, in his letter, Sandoval said state and local stakeholders have been unable at this time to secure an agreement to privately fund a permanent cleanup solution.
“We fell $12 (million) or $13 million short,” Yerington Mayor George Dini said.