The Obama administration is forking over $25 million in new research funds to investigate the harmful effects of metal-laden water from abandoned mines, not unlike the 3 million gallons of toxic sludge that the Environmental Protection Agency spilled into a river last summer.
The EPA and the National Institutes of Health made the announcement on Wednesday, two days after New Mexico sued the EPA in federal court for refusing to reimburse the state for the spill.
The announcement doesn't say anything about last year's blowout at the abandoned Gold King mine in Colorado that an EPA contractor caused. But one of the five research centers is focused on precisely the type of pollution generated by the mine spill, providing money to the University of New Mexico to conduct research on tribes affected by the mine water.
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center will use the funds to examine how contact with metal mixtures from abandoned mines affects rural Native American populations through exposures related to inadequate drinking water infrastructure, reliance on local foods, and other uses of local resources to maintain their traditional lifestyle and culture, the announcement said