Remember, late last year, when the EPA, in all of its brilliance, moved in on a Colorado mine shaft already being cleaned by a coalition of community leaders, and “accidentally” unleashed a multi-million gallon torrent of heavy metal-laced mine shaft runoff into clean water sources across the American west?
The EPA would prefer you didn’t, but Congress is still looking to gain some insight into what can only be termed a massive government failure anyway, and according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller news foundation, what the EPA once termed a “terrible accident” might have been, in actuality, a “terrible idea.”
“There was nothing unintentional about EPA’s actions with regard to breaching the mine,” Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop told Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell during a hearing in early March. “They fully intended to dig out the plug and breach it.”
Bishop’s statement stems from a recently publicized email between Interior Department officials. Brent Lewis, who heads the Bureau of Land Management’s abandoned mine program, wrote to colleagues that he had spoken to EPA’s project manager and got the following information:
“On 8/5/2015, the EPA was attempting to relieve hydrologic pressure behind a naturally collapsed adit/portal of the Gold King Mine,” reads an attachment to Lewis’ Aug. 7 email, obtained by investigators for the House Committee on Natural Resources.
“The EPA’s plan was to slowly drain and treat enough mine water in order to access the inner mine working and assess options for controlling its discharge,” reads the attachment.
Oddly enough, the unstable mine shaft – which they knew was unstable – wasn’t able to stand up to the “slow drain” and quickly gave way, spilling the mine’s waste water supplies into the Animus River, where it flowed through tourist destinations and animal watering holes, poisoning huge swaths of land, and temporarily halting the local economy.
And apparently, this all might have been avoided, had the EPA relied on its local partners in handling the mine cleanup project – a little bit of testing for pressure, which locals would have known to do, and they might have known what would result from their poking around. But why wait for private industry when government can screw it up all on its own?
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