The House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee quickly inserted into the guillotine Republican Rep. Don Coram’s bill allowing states to sue the EPA and force them to pay out settlements over the Animas River spill.
Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, whose caucus controls the calendar in the House, said the bill headed in the wrong direction. She said it is up to the governor’s office and state agencies to apply pressure on the outstanding claims.
Committee Democrats toyed with Coram before voting on a party line to kill it. Coram didn’t bring witnesses to testify on behalf of the bill because it was too far of a drive for Durango residents to waste their time defending the measure in front of the kill committee.
The Durango Herald reported that Democratic Rep. Su Ryden said they could have heard testimony remotely from Fort Lewis College. By all means, Coram replied, let’s delay the bill and do that!
But apparently, the committee has a full kill schedule this session and there was no more room on death row to stay its execution.
These actions were pretty brazen; especially considering the EPA still hasn’t paid out claims for damage and is even trying to drag the state into the blame game for the spill. Now when the claims aren’t paid out, it will be Hick’s fault.