Only the Obama administration, with it’s special kind of incompetence, could turn a mine that’s been closed for 92 years into an environmental disaster. That’s exactly what happened when the Keystone regulators at the Environmental “Protection” Agency decided to dig into a dam holding back dangerously polluted water at the Gold King mine.
According to the incomparable Paul Driessen, rather than sink a small diameter pipe into the dam to analyze the water, the EPA “...used an excavator to dig away tons of rock and debris that were blocking the entrance portal.”
That’s like using a badger to do exploratory surgery.
Only the EPA was surprised when 3 million gallons of water, yearning to breathe free, burst from the dam and cascaded 11,458 feet down the mountainside. EPA environmental “protectors” learned firsthand that toxic water filled with heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic flows just as fast as Perrier water and soon the orange flood was far downstream.
To put things in perspective for readers who don’t have much experience with toxic metals or the EPA, a spill of approximately a thermometer’s worth of mercury in a Washington, D.C. high school resulted in hysteria, immediate evacuation and a school closure that lasted a month.
The water from the EPA’s dump down the mountain, according to Driessen, “is enough to fill a pool the size of a football field (360x160 feet) seven feet deep.” The pollution plume extended from the shattered dam into the Animas and San Juan Rivers and finally washed up in Utah’s Lake Powell.
Residents in the valley, whose river now looked like Rachel Dolezal after her monthly dose of Man Tan, were outraged. First by the spill, then by the 24 hours it took the EPA to notify victims of the scope of the disaster.
Hypocrisy fans will be interested in comparing Obama’s reaction to this environmental accident to that of BP’s Gulf oil spill. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion the president wanted to “know whose ass to kick.” But so far he hasn’t even brandished his putter in the direction of the EPA.
Later, when BP CEO Tony Hayward correctly observed that the gulf was “a big ocean” and “the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest,” Obama was outraged. He declared, “[Hayward] wouldn’t be working for me after any of those statements.” Yet when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy condescendingly explained the EPA was “very careful,” and the mercury and other poisons “are flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat” - Obama didn’t even pause while lining up his putt.
What’s more, pollution caused by private sector chemical releases is uniquely dangerous. EPA regulations embody a concept known as “linear no threshold” that in layman’s terms means there is no safe level of exposure for humans to lead, cadmium and arsenic, three of the multi-metal cocktail in the Gold King spill. But when the EPA dumps identical substances into the river, McCarthy assures us the water is “restoring itself.”
It’s not quite water into wine, but remains a miraculous transformation nonetheless.
Enviro-fanatics and other greenies are circling the Prius’ around EPA headquarters to defend the agency. And I haven’t seen so much as a dead minnow floating on the water in mainstream media coverage of the event.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper visited the Animas River last week on a fact-finding mission and drank several glasses of river water. He then started ripping off his clothes to jump in for a bath, before he was wrestled to the ground.
(The governor actually had a good idea. I’ve long contended the majority of rivers in the U.S. could have been cleaned without EPA regulations and bureaucracy if once a quarter the chairman of the board, president and CEO of every company discharging into a river was required to drink a pitcher of water collected downstream from their plant. After the first handful of cancer deaths the river would have been clean enough for Hickenlooper to bathe in courtesy of motivated members of the private sector.)
For the Navajo Nation located downstream from the EPA disaster, it’s just another example of White Eyes perfidy. The Washington Times reports Russell Begaye discovered the tanker trucks the EPA hired to deliver “water for livestock and crops arrived in dirty oil tanks.”
At first glance this appears to be just another instance of EPA incompetence, but when you recall there are plenty more mines upslope from the Navajos and the EPA is still “protecting” and inspecting, the dirty tanks could be a thoughtful effort on McCarthy’s part to help the Indians build up a tolerance for toxics so the next spill won’t be so dangerous.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at email@example.com