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EPA refused to share water quality data with N.M.

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  • EPA refused to share water quality data with N.M.

    If a state, or a private company tried to get away with this the EPA would shut them down quick, fast and in a hurry or fine them until they went under!

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/09/18.../?intcmp=hpbt1

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials refused for weeks to share water-quality data with their state counterparts following a blowout of toxic wastewater from a Colorado mine that fouled rivers across the Southwest, New Mexico's top environmental regulator testified Thursday.

    The move by federal agencies aimed to downplay the severity of the spill, hobbling the state's response to the high levels of arsenic, lead and other contaminants involved in the spill, New Mexico Secretary of Environment Ryan Flynn said.

    His criticisms, aired before a U.S. House committee investigating the Aug. 5 accident, offered more fodder for congressional Republicans eager to find fault with a federal agency they perceive as having an anti-business agenda.
    An EPA cleanup team accidentally triggered the 3 million-gallon spill as it was doing excavation work on the inactive Gold King mine near Silverton, Colorado. The plume turned the Animas River there a sickly mustard yellow color, and the pollution tainted with heavy metals flowed downstream to New Mexico and Utah.
    But Flynn said the EPA's warning about the pollution came belatedly, and it was followed by incomplete testing data presented in a way that minimized the presence of contaminants above drinking-water standards. He called it a "PR stunt" by the EPA.

    "It was so insulting that I just can't imagine a scientist would be involved in its development," he said of data given to the state.

    Allen did not directly address Flynn's allegations or explain why some data was apparently withheld.

    The EPA announced Thursday that it was reducing testing for contaminants on rivers affected by the spill, after declaring that the water and sediments had returned to their "pre-existing conditions."

    Flynn said he remained concerned about contaminated sediments harming the environment, and a long-term monitoring plan offered by the agency is inadequate. That echoed concerns raised by Navajo President Russell Begaye, who questioned the EPA's role overseeing the response to a spill that it caused.

    Thursday's hearing before the House committees on Natural Resources and Oversight and Government Reform was the fourth this month examining the spill. Republican lawmakers have used the events to bash the EPA for its handling of issues ranging from climate change to the protection of streams.

    Democrats have sought to put the focus on the mining industry and ongoing pollution from tens of thousands of abandoned mines across the country.

    U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay called the hearing a "farce" that was intended to blame the EPA for the "callous disregard of mining companies."

    "We should be ashamed of what we're doing in this committee today," the Missouri Democrat said.

    The Colorado spill came from a cluster of century-old mines in the San Juan mountains that together discharge an estimated 330 million gallons of toxic wastewater annually, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified. That's over 100 times more pollution than the Gold King spill.

    "We were trying to get a handle on a situation that was growing increasingly dangerous," McCarthy said. "This is not the EPA's ... finest hour. But I am here to tell you that we are taking responsibility."

    She added that mining companies contribute "close to zero" money to help clean up such sites, under an 1872 mining law that the administration of President Barack Obama has proposed to change.

    House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop said that the EPA should face civil and criminal penalties for not consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before its work at Gold King.

    The EPA had warned in 2014 that a blowout from the mine was possible, and Bishop said under the Endangered Species Act, the agency should have considered the potential harm to protected species living downstream in the Animas and San Juan rivers.

    The Utah Republican previously has been a strong critic of the Endangered Species Act and backed measures to scale back the law's reach.

    "You violated the law. The standard you make everyone else live by, you violated," he told McCarthy.

    McCarthy responded that she did not believe the law had been broken, but a review of the accident needs to be completed before a final determination. An Interior Department investigation of the spill is due in late October. The EPA Inspector General's office is conducting a separate review.
    Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
    Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

  • #2
    This is the "Chernobyl syndrome" in full effect. That is, when the government FU's it doesn't count. It officially didn't happen until they have no choice but to admit their screw up. Even then, the government holds itself blameless for their actions and no one is held accountable.

    Comment


    • #3
      I found it interesting that this story was released the same day the EPA announced that VW built their diesels with software that cheated the emissions test, and the EPA intends to fine them.
      Maybe we should sue the EPA?
      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/19/bu...ware.html?_r=0

      The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday accused Volkswagen of installing software on 482,000 diesel cars in the U.S. to evade federal emission regulations, potentially exposing people to harmful pollutants.

      The German automaker adopted what the EPA called a "defeat device" to trick U.S. regulators into believing that its cars met Clean Air Act standards, the federal agency said in a statement.

      The agency said the diesel cars that violated federal standard were the 2009-14 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle and Golf, the 2014-15 Volkswagen Passat, and the 2009-15 Audi A3.

      Those cars emitted nitrogen oxides, which can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma, at up to 40 times the standard level, the EPA said.

      Volkswagen admitted to investigators that it had installed the defeat device, the EPA said.

      The automaker said in a statement that it's cooperating with investigators but won't comment further.

      Volkswagen, whose brands include the luxury Audi lineup, may face fines or other penalties, the EPA said. The maximum Clean Air Act violation is $37,500 per vehicle, meaning Volkswagen's fine could technically be as high as $18 billion.

      What's more, the scandal could expose Volkswagen to lawsuits and penalties for marketing its cars under the "Clean Diesel" moniker. An hour after the EPA announcement, the automaker's website still contained the "Clean Diesel" branding.

      About 20% of Volkswagen's vehicle sales are diesel engines, AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan said.

      "It totally goes against all of the marketing they have had of a clean diesel," Sullivan said in an interview. "That’s one of the biggest selling points for Volkswagen."
      Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
      Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

      Comment


      • #4
        The EPA has a bigger problem...that river irrigates Native American farmlands in the Four Corners region, and they are now involved in the lawsuits. Now we'll have the BIA pitted against the EPA over who is going to pay for health problems and so forth, and I'm betting the Indians have better lawyers.
        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

        Comment


        • #5
          This is typical of Federal three letter agencies that have far exceeded their authority because so many people running them have way too much idle time on their hands.

          The only fix, when Republicans can find the balls to slash those budgets and not worry about being accused of being racist or shutting down the Government.

          Otherwise, expect more of such crap to continue.
          http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/%E2...O4r?li=AAa0dzB
          “Breaking News,”

          “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

          Comment


          • #6
            Goes without saying, Ron. "We're from the government, and we're here to help you."
            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

            Comment


            • #7
              So the logic is the monitoring and regulatory agency isn't doing it's job, therefore the only obvious conclusion is the underlying regulatory need must not exist.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lynelhutz View Post
                So the logic is the monitoring and regulatory agency isn't doing it's job, therefore the only obvious conclusion is the underlying regulatory need must not exist.
                Actually, in Washington, District of Corruption today, reason #1 would be incompetence, reason #2 would be politics/CYA, reason #3 would be corruption and reason #4 would be "regulatory need must not exist".

                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lynelhutz View Post
                  So the logic is the monitoring and regulatory agency isn't doing it's job, therefore the only obvious conclusion is the underlying regulatory need must not exist.
                  This goes beyond not doing its job! On one hand it is going to fine VW billions of dollars for its actions, while on the other hand it is with holding vital information about a toxic spill it caused that sent a toxic stew of god knows what careening down rive beds through three states, a spill caused by its own crews!
                  Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
                  Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Let's see if I understand this. The people;e of NM has to go to DC to ask if their water is safe to drink. Something tells me the people of NM are there and the blood suckers are all in DC. Why do the local people need to ask a Fed agency in the first place.

                    District of Corruption
                    I really like that one MM.
                    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                      Let's see if I understand this. The people;e of NM has to go to DC to ask if their water is safe to drink. Something tells me the people of NM are there and the blood suckers are all in DC. Why do the local people need to ask a Fed agency in the first place.

                      I really like that one MM.
                      Because a EPA crew inspecting a holding pond at a mine in Colorado accidentally burst the dam, and released thousands of gallons of contaminated water down stream and into rivers that fed into three states, they were responsible for the spill, and they refused to inform the state emergency response teams what contaminates they were dealing with.
                      Blame the state ? That doesn't wash.
                      Dispite our best intentions, the system is dysfunctional that intelligence failure is guaranteed.
                      Russ Travers, CIA analyst, 2001

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                        Actually, in Washington, District of Corruption today, reason #1 would be incompetence, reason #2 would be politics/CYA, reason #3 would be corruption and reason #4 would be "regulatory need must not exist".

                        I prefer the more coarse "Dirty City" as the moniker for DC...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lynelhutz View Post
                          So the logic is the monitoring and regulatory agency isn't doing it's job, therefore the only obvious conclusion is the underlying regulatory need must not exist.
                          No, the conclusion should be that the regulatory agency only does its job when it, itself, is not involved in the object being regulated. That is, the regulations don't apply to the agency only others.

                          That is the problem here. There is no one regulating the regulators, and they have become big enough in terms of power and money that they are now essentially unaccountable. They can make up whatever rules they want almost with impunity and apply them however they like.
                          But, if they themselves screw up, too bad.

                          It's a case of "If you break the rules we'll force you to fix things and pay for it. If we break the rules, we're sorry."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            No, the conclusion should be that the regulatory agency only does its job when it, itself, is not involved in the object being regulated. That is, the regulations don't apply to the agency only others.

                            That is the problem here. There is no one regulating the regulators, and they have become big enough in terms of power and money that they are now essentially unaccountable. They can make up whatever rules they want almost with impunity and apply them however they like.
                            But, if they themselves screw up, too bad.

                            It's a case of "If you break the rules we'll force you to fix things and pay for it. If we break the rules, we're sorry."
                            I agree that should be the issue. Negligence and mismanagement of the agency is the narrow issue, but it is not a case of "fix this problem ensure future transparency: end of discussion".

                            As is clear from the other posters, it is about the agency itself. It is a case of the canary in the coal mine got it wrong this instance, therefore lets shoot the canary and not replace it.

                            The thinking seems to be another Love Canal won't happen and if it does, the market will provide a solution by making a new area for low income housing so the poor benefit too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lynelhutz View Post
                              I agree that should be the issue. Negligence and mismanagement of the agency is the narrow issue, but it is not a case of "fix this problem ensure future transparency: end of discussion".

                              As is clear from the other posters, it is about the agency itself. It is a case of the canary in the coal mine got it wrong this instance, therefore lets shoot the canary and not replace it.

                              The thinking seems to be another Love Canal won't happen and if it does, the market will provide a solution by making a new area for low income housing so the poor benefit too.
                              This is a case where a federal agency should have no authority or business being involved. Love Canal, and other major sources of pre-existing pollution may or may not be a federal issue as well.
                              Federal authority over pollution should be limited to interstate and international issues. Navigable waterways are a federal issue because large rivers, bays, and estuaries are multistate or coastal involving off shore issues.
                              Air pollution can be seen as a interstate issue as it can move from place to place.
                              Some guy building a pond on his land that has a stream isn't a federal issue in any way, shape, or form. That is for local and state authorities to deal with.

                              That is the problem here. More and more the federal government is sticking its nose into state and local issues it has no business in. The commerce clause has been trampled into meaningless.

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