by Michael Bastasch
A new report details how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may have violated at least two federal laws by spilling millions of gallons of mine waste into U.S. rivers, which would trigger criminal charges against private companies.
But so far, the EPA has launched no criminal investigation into the Gold King Mine incident, despite mounting evidence it acted negligently when it caused the mine blowout — the bar EPA uses for bringing criminal prosecutions against private parties.
“The government, for whatever reason, is treating itself more favorably than it would a private party,” Paul Larkin, a former federal attorney who now works for the conservative Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Federal officials aren’t immune to criminal prosecution,” Larkin said. “If these were private parties they would have opened a criminal investigation.”
A new House natural resources committee report claims EPA officials potentially violate at least two federal environmental laws — the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. And based on EPA’s past enforcement tactics, officials could be held criminally liable for polluting waterways across three states.