In August, EPA contractors released over 3 million gallons of toxic mine water from the Gold King mine cleanup site into the Animas river. Officials in areas all along the river were forced to get their information from other sources and backchannels. The EPA failed to contact local, tribal, and federal officials in a timely manner.
Western Caucus Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large) and Vice Chairman Scott Tipton (CO-03) issued the following statements in response to the Standard Mine spill:
“I don’t understand how, after all the trouble the EPA is in for the catastrophic Animas River spill, they could fail yet again to inform officials when they make another potentially dangerous mistake,” said Chairman Lummis. “While not the same magnitude of Animus, the EPA has caused another spill and failed to inform all concerned officials in a timely manner. The EPA has broken trust with the American people. Moving forward we need a more trustworthy process to clean up these sites and that solution lies in empowering and cooperating closely with local communities.”
“Another spill caused by the actions of the EPA—at a Superfund site no less—calls further into question this agency’s ability to adequately execute these types of projects. It is troubling and frustrating that the spill occurred yesterday and once again the EPA did not notify our office, despite repeated assurances from EPA after the Gold King blowout that communication would improve. Apparently nothing has changed at EPA,” said Vice Chairman Tipton. “These sites need to be cleaned up, and I believe there is a better way to go about it than the current EPA status-quo. That is why I continue to work with my colleagues and with local stakeholders to put the power and funding to address these problems in the hands of the folks on the ground who have been working to solve them for years. ”