Monday, November 16, 2015

Yellow River: EPA Forces Secrecy On Gold King Mine Spill Firm

Environmental Protection Agency officials require contractors to sign secrecy pledges that in the case of the Gold King Mine spill kept the public in the dark earlier this year about a Colorado mining disaster that turned waters yellow as they flowed through two states and the Navajo Nation. The EPA required Missouri-based Environmental Restoration LLC, which was responsible for the spill of three million gallons of mining waste into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River, to sign what is known in federal procurement regulations as a non-disclosure agreement. But these secrecy clauses are typical with the EPA — the same government agency whose former administrator, Lisa Jackson, used an alias email address to avoid public scrutiny.  As a result, important details about the Aug. 5, 2015, environmental disaster near Silverton, Colorado, remain hidden nearly three months later. Taxpayers wouldn’t even know the identity of the firm but for reporting by the Wall Street Journal that was based on a leak from an anonymous EPA official. The spill occurred while an EPA official and company personnel were working at the site and sent a flood of mining waste, including toxic materials like cadmium, lead and arsenic, into the water sources for people living in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, as well as the Navajo Nation. “With few exemptions, the public’s business should be done publicly, not privately,” Open The Books founder Adam Andrzejewski told TheDCNF. “After a major spill, the EPA’s worst practices are coming to light — shrouding the public business in privacy.”...more

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