Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Government Agencies are not always perfect, EPA

The Guardian/Caty Enders, New York, 8/11/15. "Confusion plagues EPA response to toxic Colorado mining spill it caused. Communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona along the Animas and San Juan rivers struggle to make sense of mixed messages and a lack of communication from the federal agency."

Image result for Colorado toxic spill picture
Isn't this EPA goof more serious
than a Caltrans caused traffic jam
through Pacifica? I feel better now.
"Six days after a burst plug shot 3m gallons of toxic mining waste from Gold King Mine into Colorado’s Animas River, communities in three states are increasingly frustrated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hasn’t explained the environmental and health impacts of the spill. “For whatever reason, their communications continue to be insufficient,” said Durango-based San Juan Citizens Alliance executive director Dan Olson. “They’re sowing more confusion in the community than they are resolving it.

....  The federal agency downplayed the short-term impacts on Sunday, when EPA toxicologist Deborah McKean was quoted as saying that the plume would not have “caused significant health effects” to animals. The federal agency is being blamed for the release, which happened during an attempt to clean up decades-old mining waste on a corporation’s private property. How a backhoe operator managed to breach the plug blocking the toxic sludge from entering the river has yet to be explained by federal officials."  Read article.

Related, health.  CNN/Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent, 8/11/15, includes video 2 minutes, and more. "Health impact of Animas River toxic spill: 'this is a real mess'." "While the mustard-yellow hue of the Animas River is fading, leading toxicologists say there could be health effects for many years to come from heavy metals such as lead and mercury that spilled into the water. "This is a real mess," said Max Costa, chair of the department of environmental medicine at New York University School of Medicine. "These levels are shocking."Exposure to high levels of these metals can cause an array of health problems from cancer to kidney disease to developmental problems in children."

Related, background.  New York Times/Julie Turkewitz, 8/10/15, "Environmental Agency uncorks its own toxic water spill at Colorado mine." "DURANGO, Colo. — The Animas River is the cultural soul of this patch of southwestern Colorado, a sort of moving Main Street that hosts multiple floating parades a year and is typically bustling with rafters and kayakers. Schoolchildren study the river. Sweethearts marry on its banks. Its former name, given by Spaniards, is el Río de las Ánimas, the River of Souls. But since Wednesday, the Animas has been grievously polluted with toxic water spilled from one of the many abandoned mines that pockmark the region — a spill for which the Environmental Protection Agency has claimed responsibility, saying it accidentally breached a store of chemical-laced water. On Sunday, anger over the spill boiled over after the agency announced that the amount of toxic water released was three times what was previously stated — more than three million gallons rather than one million — and that officials were still unsure if there was a health threat to humans or animals."

Note:  photograph from CNN/Discussionist/Science.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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