Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Watchdog: EPA acted legally, reasonably in 2015 Colorado mine spill

A Monday report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General largely clears the agency for its actions surrounding the 2015 Gold King Mine spill in Colorado.
Investigators reviewed 16 different questions related to the Gold King spill and largely cleared the EPA in the disaster that caused 3 million gallons of mine waste sludge with toxic heavy metals to flow into a tributary of the Animas River. The incident caused significant outrage against the EPA by local authorities and Republicans nationally, and the agency quickly took responsibility for it. The inspector general report Monday found that there wasn’t likely very much the EPA could have done differently when its contractor accidentally removed material that was holding back mining waste at a high pressure, and in the response to the spill. On the key question of whether the EPA should have done more to determine the pressure at the abandoned mine entrance, the report sided with the EPA workers involved. “We found it reasonable that the EPA had not conducted direct testing of the water level or pressure during the removal site evaluation at Gold King Mine by the time of the release on August 5, 2015,” the report said....more

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