I don't have too many kind words to say about the EPA. I don't know if this bill will, in fact, do much good, but it seems like a step in the right direction.
I like what Countable member Maureen said:
"The US has the strictest air quality standards of all countries. Recent agreements with China and Russia and other countries were enlightening. These countries won't even think to begin to reduce their industrial emissions for at least another 10 to 20 years. All their emissions continue to pollute our air. And we've cut back on creating growth on industry in our country and damaged our economy."
I'm still angry about the toxic spills that were caused by the EPA!
EPA Contractor Behind Colorado Mine Spill Got $381 Million From Taxpayers
Posted on August 13, 2015 by Michael Bastasch
The Environmental Protection Agency may have been trying to hide the identity of the contracting company responsible for causing a major wastewater spill in southern Colorado, but the Wall Street Journal has revealed the company’s identity.
#EnvironmentalRestoration (#ER) LLC, a Missouri-based firm, was the “contractor whose work caused a mine spill in Colorado that released an estimated 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a major river system,” the WSJ was told by a source familiar with the matter. The paper also found government documents to corroborate what their source told them.
So far, the EPA has refused to publicly name the contracting company used to plug abandoned mines in southern Colorado, despite numerous attempts by The Daily Caller News Foundation and other media outlets to obtain the information. It’s unclear why the agency chose not to reveal the contractor’s name.
What is clear, however, is that ER has gotten $381 million in government contracts since October 2007, according to a WSJ review of data from USAspending.gov. About $364 million of that funding came from the EPA, but only $37 million was given to ER for work they had done in Colorado.
When contacted by phone, The DCNF had been informed ER’s offices had closed for the day. The EPA did not return a request for comment on the WSJ’s story revealing the identity of the agency’s contractor.
ER contractors reportedly caused a massive wastewater spill from the Gold King Mine in southern Colorado last week. EPA-supervised workers breached a debris dam while using heavy equipment and unleashed 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into Cement Creek. The toxic plume eventually reached the Animas River where it’s been able to spread even further, forcing Colorado and New Mexico to declare a state of emergency.
The EPA has taken responsibility for the spill and has officials on the ground working with local officials to remedy the situation. Still, local officials and Native Americans are furious with the EPA over the spill, and have not ruled out legal action to make sure the agency remains accountable.
“No agency could be more upset about the incident happening, and more dedicated in doing our job to get this right,” EPA Chief Administrator #GinaMcCarthy said in a press conference in Durango, Colorado Wednesday. “We couldn’t be more sorry. Our mission is to protect human health and the environment. We will hold ourselves to a higher standard than anyone else.”
EPA spills again in Colorado
The Environmental Protection is admitting to a spill from a treatment plant it set up after it dumped 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into a Colorado river last year.
The EPA said Thursday night that the spill happened on Tuesday, and officials are still attempting to determine how much and what metals were contained in the sludgy discharge, according to the Associated Press.
The spill occurred near the site of last year's spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colo., where agency contractors didn't adequately check the mine's pressure before attempting to open it up after several years of being idle. The result was a massive mine blowout that sent 3 million gallons of metal-tainted water into the waterways of three states.
The Navajo Nation sued the agency over the spill last week after the EPA inspector general and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the incident a few days before the Aug. 5 anniversary of the 2015 spill. The Navajo argue in their lawsuit that the spill significantly harmed the tribe's primary source of revenue from crops and other agricultural products.
Local officials said this week's release was not large enough to warrant a public advisory.
Last year's spill sent nearly 1 million pounds of metals into the waterways of the Animas and San Juan rivers, which traverse three states. The metals include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc.
This week's spill came from the treatment plant that the EPA set up near the mine to filter water coming from the mine before releasing it into the creek and river systems. A large amount of rain in Colorado caused the treatment facility to overflow and some of the untreated water to spill into the waterways.
EPA said the water that spilled from he plant was partially treated, and the metals present in it should quickly settle to the bottom of waterways where they are less harmful.
EPA slammed for refusing to cover all Colorado county’s costs from toxic spill
By Valerie Richardson
DENVER — The Environmental Protection Agency came under fire Thursday after an official said the agency would not fully cover a Colorado county’s expenses stemming from the EPA-caused toxic wastewater spill at the Gold King Mine.
Colorado Republicans blasted the agency after the Durango Herald reported that an EPA official nixed some of La Plata County’s proposed cooperative agreement for $2.4 million in spill-related costs over 10 years at a Wednesday meeting of the county’s board of commissioners.
Sen. Cory Gardner, Colorado Republican, described the report as “outrageous” and “yet another example of the Washington double standard,” adding that he would work to ensure that the agency compensates the region for “property damage and lost economic opportunity.”
“The EPA must keep its promise to the people of Colorado and abide by the standards it expects of others,” Mr. Gardner said in a statement. “I’ll do everything I can to ensure La Plata County, San Juan County, affected tribal communities, and my constituents are fully compensated and the EPA is held wholly accountable for its negligence.”
Bill Murray, Superfund remedial program director, told county commissioners that the cooperative-agreement program was not designed to cover anticipated expenses such as monitoring of spill effects and water quality, according to the Herald.
He also said the agency had cut off reimbursement for response costs stemming from the Aug. 5 spill after ending its emergency-response activities Oct. 31.
“The intent is not that this co-op agreement would cover future activities,” Mr. Murray said. “For Superfund sites, we don’t often have future costs included. The program is not designed to provide for a lot of what is in there.”
County staff spent hundreds of hours drafting the proposed agreement after being told to do so by the EPA, and yet the document was “done on arrival,” said county attorney Sheryl Rogers.
The EPA responded Thursday by releasing a list of its payments to date to local governments, including $197,792 to La Plata County for “allowable removal response expenses” related to the spill, as well as $9,786 on April 1 as part of a Superfund Cooperative Agreement.
The agency is also evaluating $140,000 in additional expenses incurred by the county before Oct. 31.
“EPA takes responsibility for the Gold King Mine release and is committed to continue working hand-in-hand with the impacted local governments, states and tribes,” said the agency’s statement.
County commissioner Julie Westendorff said that the region has incurred a significant economic hit from the spill that extend beyond Oct. 31.
“What’s the mechanism for recovering actual damages that our community, the city of Durango, the Southern Utes, San Juan County and Silverton incurred, that aren’t out-of-pocket? That were damages to our reputation, for lack of a better word?” Ms. Westendorff asked.
“We have a fishing, rafting and tourism industry that people come here for. We took a big hit on it. Oct. 31 wasn’t the last day we had costs – that’s when your (the EPA’s) response was over,” she said.
Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, who represents the southwest Colorado region, called the response “par for the course with the EPA.”
“I have been skeptical of the EPA’s management of this situation from the onset and find it offensive to the communities in my district that the EPA, who is directly responsible for this disaster, has so blatantly admitted La Plata County, and others, will not receive full compensation for the damages caused by this spill,” said Mr. Tipton in a statement.
The EPA has set up a $2 million fund to support states’ and tribes’ long-term monitoring plans. The agency has also provided reimbursements for expenses incurred by other governmental entities, including states, tribes, the towns of Silverton and Durango, and San Juan County.
An EPA-led team uncorked 3 million gallons of contaminated orange wastewater during a clean-up job at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, after failing to gauge the water level behind a wall of debris.
The sludge contaminated water supplies in Colorado and New Mexico after spreading from the Animas River to the San Juan River.