lawyer sueLegislation floating around Washington intends to hold the EPA accountable for the Animas River spill by allowing those damaged by the agency’s malfeasance to sue the federal government.

A statement by the bill’s author, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, specifies that the money would come out of the EPA’s “own budget — not additional funds provided by taxpayers.”

 “The EPA’s negligence and lack of accountability in the Animas River spill is the ultimate example of hypocrisy considering the crushing regulations and punishments they’ve handed down over the last several years. It may be Colorado now, but it is impossible to trust their next disaster won’t be in Arkansas,” said Senator Cotton. “We must take action to ensure the EPA is both held accountable and incentivized to change their behavior.”

We certainly agree that those affected by the spill should be reimbursed for damages, and that the EPA should be held accountable for its actions.

However, we won’t be holding our breath expecting that any outlays would come from the EPA’s current budget.

It’s the end of the fiscal year and the agency is already operating under a temporary funding fix until December so Congress can pass the spending bills for next year using new money from taxpayers.

It’s a nice effort by Cotton and we appreciate the thought, but the reality is that taxpayers will be on the hook for all of the lawsuits brought against the EPA, from funding government lawyers who will fight the challenge tooth and nail, to any potential courtroom rewards.

As for holding the EPA accountable to the same standards as the rest of us, perhaps the bureaucrats should be held criminally accountable for their actions?

After all, it’s what the EPA would do.