Nevada backs priority Superfund status for toxic mine


RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada is dropping its long-held opposition to having a World War II-era copper mine added to the priority list of the nation’s most polluted Superfund sites, Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sandoval said he was cautiously, “reluctantly” concurring with the agency’s latest proposal, which would make available $31 million in federal funds to help clean up the Anaconda mine, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its formal release planned later Tuesday. The abandoned mine is in Yerington, about 80 miles southeast of Reno.

Like his two fellow Republican predecessors, Gov. Sandoval told the EPA in recent months he wasn’t yet willing to support the national priority listing because of continued resistance from some local businesses and community leaders concerned about the stigma of Superfund status and the potential to harm local property values.

But he said Tuesday he’s convinced it’s the best path forward based in part on the agency’s continued efforts to cooperate with local leaders and its assurances the federal money will be put on a fast track. He also said the state maintains the option to pursue its own cleanup plan if private funding becomes available.