Because they didn’t mean to, you see. After all, everybody makes mistakes, right?
Question – imagine you accidentally spilled 3 million gallons of toxic pollution in a pristine, natural waterway. Imagine this sludge turns the river into something resembling the wax used to make yellow crayons, or perhaps, a dog’s poop after he’s eaten a yellow crayon. Do you think the EPA would see fit to let you go with a “It’s all good – we know it was an accident”? If you do believe that, I have a bridge over a toxic sludge river I’d like to sell you.
You and I both knew that the federal government had as much chance of finding the EPA guilty of poisoning the river as Comey had of finding Hillary guilty of violating national security laws. That doesn’t mean we have to like it though, right, not-Indiana Jones?
From the Daily Caller:
A government watchdog reported Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed no wrong-doing in an environmental disaster, but the auditors ignored crucial inconsistencies in officials’ stories.
The EPA breached Colorado’s Gold King Mine on Aug. 5, 2015, resulting in an estimated three million gallons of toxic pollution being dumped into a river that provides drinking water for people living in three states and the Navajo Nation. The pollution turned the river water yellow for days after the initial dumping.
Officials “inadvertently” breached the mine due to a “misjudgment,” but they didn’t violate any “standards for the level of care,” since none existed, the EPA’s Inspector General (IG) said in the report. The Department of Justice previously declined to prosecute the EPA employee responsible for the disaster after a year-long IG investigation.
The Daily Caller News Foundation (TheDCNF) has comprehensively reported the EPA’s mistakes and subsequent coverup of the Gold King Mine environmental disaster. The IG report, which was released nearly two years after the event, addresses few of the TheDCNF’s multiple findings.
“On August 5th, 2015, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator was directing excavation operations to remove loose material to expose the bedrock above the collapsed mine portal for further assessment,” IG official Tina Lovingood said in a podcast. “But our team found that the EPA actually was not attempting to open the mine that day.”
Yet the account of a Department of the Interior (DOI) employee involved at Gold King Mine, which TheDCNF reported in March 2016, contradicted the IG’s finding.
“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 an Aug. 7, 2015 email from Brent Lewis, head of the Bureau of Land Management’s abandoned mine program, to colleagues.
“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,” the attachment continued. “While removing small portions of the natural plug, the material catastrophically gave-way and released the mine water.”
The IG report said nothing about Lewis’ email. DOI also declined to comment on a document the IG provided to the agency, according to Monday’s report.