Tuesday, January 17, 2017

EDITORIAL: EPA hypocrites won't pay victims of Gold King spill

The Environmental Protection Agency is suing Colorado Springs for inadequate drainage facilities, because the EPA purportedly cares so much about clean water. The outdated infrastructure could, conceivably, cause trouble downstream. City officials raced to upgrade facilities long before the suit, committing hundreds of millions to do so. Regardless, the EPA wants a pint of blood.

Meanwhile, in a move of brazen hypocrisy, the same EPA says it absolutely, positively will not reimburse farmers, ranchers, Indian tribes, rafting companies, rafting workers and others who suffered financial losses from the agency's 2015 Gold King Mine spill. The agency claims sovereign immunity. With the spill a distant memory in the collective mindset, the EPA won't pay a dime. Harm from the EPA's offense is not speculative, as it is with Colorado Springs' drainage problems. People are hurting because of the Gold King spill.

The agency's refusal to pay is in stark contrast to its song and dance immediately after the spill, in the midst of an epic public relations crisis, Back then, the EPA promised all injured parties would be reimbursed. We're from the government and we're here to help.

The EPA filed suit against the Springs nearly a year after Mayor John Suthers finessed a commitment to spend $460 million to build state-of-the art stormwater facilities. Water customers of Colorado Springs Utilities will pick up the tab. New infrastructure will comply with or exceed federal standards. Whatever money the EPA costs Colorado Springs is capital the city cannot spend expediting improvements to protect clean water.

If EPA officials cared about the public that funds their agency, they would compensate victims of the Gold King spill. If they cared about clean water, they would not obstruct a community's massive effort to protect it. Clearly, the EPA cares mostly about the EPA.

No comments: