Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Congressional committee says Colorado mine spill probe glossed over government negligence

A U.S. Interior Department investigation glossed over the federal government's negligence in a massive toxic wastewater spill from an inactive gold mine that fouled rivers in three states, Republicans in Congress said as they pushed for a more detailed explanation of the accident. An Environmental Protection Agency cleanup crew triggered the 3-million-gallon spill on Aug. 5 during cleanup work near Silverton, Colorado. It sent a torrent of rust-colored water filled with poisonous arsenic, lead and other contaminants rushing downstream through communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The Interior Department's subsequent investigation — conducted at the EPA's request — faulted EPA officials for not taking steps that could have prevented the accident. But House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop told The Associated Press that the Interior investigation was too limited and failed to answer whether any criminal conduct occurred. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was scheduled to testify on the matter before Bishop's committee on Wednesday. Federal officials have yet to release documents related to the investigation that The AP has sought through public records requests. That includes criticisms over the scope of the probe from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers geotechnical engineer who peer-reviewed the agency's work...more

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