Colorado scientists warn Climax Mine molybdenum may pose health risk, oppose company push to raise pollution limit
The Denver Post
Colorado health scientists have opposed a global mining giant’s push to raise by 43 times the statewide limit for molybdenum pollution of streams, revealing that discharges from the open-pit Climax Mine already may pose public health risks to Summit County communities.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment water-quality scientists said, in a recommendation to state commissioners, that Climax Molybdenum’s proposed hike “would be acutely lethal to aquatic life” and probably not protective of people.
A Climax report on molybdenum exposures in Colorado “demonstrates that current levels of molybdenum in drinking water may pose a public health risk to communities downstream” of the mine, CDPHE scientists said in filings reviewed by The Denver Post.
State data show molybdenum discharges from the Climax Mine above Leadville in recent years increased to levels 10 times higher than the current statewide limit of 210 parts per billion. CDPHE water-quality control commissioners granted Climax a “temporary modification.” When it expired, the commissioners extended the modification to provide more time to complete a study of molybdenum.
CDPHE officials Tuesday declined to discuss this issue.
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