Monday, March 21, 2016

EPA Advisor Wrote ‘Independent’ Review Of Gold King Mine Spill

An independent investigation was formed to determine how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) caused the Gold King Mine spill, but a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found the federal department conducting the examination may not have been so independent. The Department of the Interior (DOI) released its Technical Evaluation report in October, which outlined how the EPA spilled three million gallons of wastewater into crucial western rivers. But the report omitted critical details, possibly due to conflicts of interest.  Army Corps of Engineers peer reviewer Richard Olsen – the only peer-reviewer employed outside DOI – had serious problems with the scope of the department’s report. Olsen also pressed DOI on possible political machinations aimed at keeping federal investigators from digging too deep into the EPA-caused mine blowout. “The actual cause of failure is some combination of issues related to EPA internal communications, administrative authorities, and/or a break in the decision path,” Olsen wrote in his official comments on the DOI’s technical report on the spill. Olsen also criticized DOI for failing to investigate the EPA’s negligence and decision-making process surrounding the agency’s Gold King Mine work and spill.Outside of Olsen’s comments, “the scope of the Technical Evaluation appears to have been carefully crafted to avoid asking the most important questions about EPA’s decision and actions,” the House Committee on Natural Resources wrote in a recent report that detailed the “shifting accounts” offered by government officials about the cause of the mine blowout...more

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