Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Follow up to EPA's Animas/Yellow River story

Apparently there has been a large enough outcry from congress to get the queenly head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy off her butt and out from behind her big desk in DC to go see the damage she and her department has caused!

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy is jetting off to the site of a major gold mine spill in the western U.S., after a group of Democratic congressmen criticized the agency for not doing enough in the wake of the disaster.

Earlier Tuesday, McCarthy had taken the blame for the spill that is quickly escalating into a major multi-state incident. An EPA contractor had caused the spill of contaminated water that has now spread from Colorado to Utah.
McCarthy agreed to make the trip at the request of the New Mexico congressional delegation, which issued a statement indicating the EPA administrator had agreed to make the journey after appealing to her on Monday.
New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with Rep. Ben Ray Luján, issued a joint statement saying the threat from the spill now threatens the drinking water in Northern New Mexico, as well as recreation and agricultural activities areas throughout the Navajo Nation. The three Democrats criticized EPA for its lack of response and communication with local officials, and said they hope McCarthy's visit will change that.

The lawmakers are also asking EPA for a "detailed plan" to address water shortages and other resource issues.

The Aug. 5 spill occurred when an EPA contractor accidentally ruptured a containment wall at a Colorado mine, allowing water filled with gold tailings from the mine to flow into the Animas River
Three million gallons of water polluted with heavy metals poured into the river and turned it orange, with the tainted water spreading in a plume into New Mexico and Utah.

"We believe it is critical that she see firsthand the extent of the damage and the need for substantial cleanup efforts," they said. "Just as important, we expect her to listen to local officials and residents in the area who still don't have answers to when their water will be safe to drink, irrigate their crops and water their livestock."

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