Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Gold King Mine Report Botched By The Mine’s Federal Part-Owner

by Ethan Barton

A botched “independent” review of the Gold King Mine spill was led by the Department of the Interior (DOI) – a federal agency that owned part of the mine, among other conflicts of interest, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the very agency DOI was investigating for causing the spill – once considered holding Interior liable for pollution, likely for decades of acid waste leaking from Gold King’s lower level. EPA and DOI also frequently collaborated on projects at Gold King Mine and across the region.

...The EPA selected DOI’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to lead the review despite the latter’s long involvement at the site and elsewhere across the mine-rich region. Also, DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was active in the area and often worked closely with the EPA, and even owns a portion of the Gold King Mine’s lower level.

“The Gold King Mine blowout is no mystery to Interior,” House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop told TheDCNF. “They have pretended to play an insignificant role, but nearly all of DOI’s bureaus, and especially the Bureau of Land Management, actively worked on this and related mines in the region.”

...In a further twist, internal emails obtained by TheDCNF show EPA considered holding BLM at least partially liable for pollution in the region under the Superfund law last year, though the bureau ultimately was let off the hook.

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