Thursday, March 31, 2016

Gold King Mine Owner Forced To Sign Access Agreement; Fears EPA’s ‘Limitless Legal Budget’

The owner of the Gold King Mine said Monday the Environmental Protection Agency again forced him to sign an access agreement through 2016 for several private mining claims, prolonging a land dispute that began in 2014. On March 4, Gold King Mine owner Todd Hennis signed a “Consent for Access to Property,” which allows the federal agency to continue work on the private parcels in the mining district north of Silverton. “I was forced to sign this agreement, under threat of Federal Court action,” Hennis wrote in an email. “The EPA has a limitless legal budget, so there is effectively no way a private citizen … can effectively fight the seizure of one’s private land.” Hennis’ strife with the EPA began in 2014 when the federal agency decided acid mine discharges out of the Gold King had gotten so bad it would begin a remediation project. Hennis also claimed at that time he was coerced to allow the EPA access to his land. “(The EPA) decided it was too big a job for that year, so they piled many, many tons of earth and rock on the portal to, quote, prevent a blowout during the winter,” Hennis told The Durango Herald in a previous interview. “In doing so, they created the blowout conditions this year (2015).” As part of the agreement, the EPA has full access to Hennis’ land, which includes the right to construct pipelines, settling ponds and a water-treatment facility, as well as “any other actions the EPA determines are necessary.” Hennis has “reasonable access” as long as it does not interfere with EPA activities. The EPA also promised to “leave certain improvements and remedy features,” though it did not provide specifics. The contract says the EPA will remove any unwanted structures and restore the surface of the property “to a condition that is reasonably similar” to what existed before the project began...more

What is this guy's problem?  With the blessings of Congress, its just a federal court teaming up with a federal agency to confiscate use of his property.  The feds not only have access, they can build a pipeline, make settling ponds, construct a water-treatment facility or take “any other actions the EPA determines are necessary.”  And listen, he still has access to his property, that is as long as it doesn't interfere with anything the EPA is doing.   Uh oh, that sounds more like federal property, not private property.

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