Thursday, August 13, 2015

3 million gallons of toxic mine waste released into Colorado river by Environmental Protection Agency

EPA chief: Colorado mine spill 'pains me' | KSL.com - Michael Biesecker, Associated Press:

August 11, 2015 - "The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday her department takes full responsibility for spilling 3 million gallons of mining waste that turned a southwest Colorado river an unnatural shade of orange, adding it 'pains me to no end.'

"Gina McCarthy made the comments as her agency comes under increased scrutiny after federal and contract workers accidentally unleashed the spill last week while inspecting the abandoned Gold King mine near Silverton, Colorado.

"The contaminated water that flowed into a tributary of the Animas and San Juan rivers contained high levels of arsenic, lead and other potentially toxic heavy metals. McCarthy expressed regret that the spill occurred and said her agency has 'added responsibility here'....

"The accident comes at a sensitive time for the EPA, a frequent and favorite target of conservatives and pro-business groups. McCarthy spoke Tuesday as part of an event on the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan, which mandates steep greenhouse gas emission cuts from U.S. power plants.

"State and local officials in the areas affected by the spill have characterized EPA's initial response as too slow and too small. It took about 24 hours to first notify some downstream communities of the accident and the agency originally underestimated the volume of the spill.

"The plume of pollution has since flowed at least 100 miles downstream to New Mexico, where towns and cities have been forced to close their intake valves to protect public water supplies."

Read more: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=151&sid=35918688&title=epa-chief-colorado-mine-spill-pains-me
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