The EPA has been so annoyingly secretive about the Animas River spill, it’s going to take the long reach of the legislative branch’s investigative arm to dig right into the federal government’s nether region and wrestle loose the details.
As terrible, no good, rotten bad luck for the EPA would have it, that spill poured right into the backyard of two of the most powerful men in the U.S. House – Utah Republican Reps. Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the Government Oversight Committee, and Rob Bishop, who chairs the Natural Resources Committee.
Both are geared up for oversight hearings and Chaffetz has also called for an independent investigation similar to what happened after the Deepwater Horizon incident. Senate hearings have already been scheduled for September.
Colorado’s Republican delegation has been hot on the EPA’s trail, demanding accountability, congressional oversight, cleanup, recovery– the laundry list of what U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner have done since the spill last week is meticulously comprehensive.
Gardner called the EPA’s feeble response and secrecy “outrageous, reckless, and unacceptable”
“Although the EPA has finally acknowledged the magnitude of the crisis, its ongoing lack of communication and coordination must be rectified. The local communities and industries that rely on the river for their livelihoods deserve transparency, accountability, and an explanation that is far-past due.”
Democrats have been mostly silent on the event, except for Sen. Michael Bennet who is up for reelection, and the governor who finally when to Durango nearly a week later to pose for a Big Gulp photo op.
The attorneys general of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah are weighing whether to file lawsuits against the federal government.
Just in case there are no legal avenues for the AGs, Republican State Rep. Don Coram of Montrose said he would introduce legislation next year giving them new powers to go after the EPA.
“Colorado must have every option on the table to recover damages from the EPA at any time in the future,” Coram said.
Finally, the EPA has pledged to conduct their own internal review, to determine what went wrong.