The EPA now has all of the required documents from state officials begging for the feds help to clean up the mess they caused at the Gold King Mine, plus another 45 mines while they’re here for the next several decades.
Gov. Hickenlooper signed off on the take-over, although now it turns out little is assured in exchange for the state’s surrender.
Although the EPA caused the spill, that won’t affect the priority of the new cleanup to actually get money to move forward on all the needed studies and consultations — the kind that worked so well prior to their spill.
EPA officials acknowledged Superfund is limited. They’ve told locals the agency’s role causing the Aug. 5 Gold King disaster won’t be a factor in setting priorities because disasters are ranked using a numerical system that doesn’t take into account whether the EPA causes harm.
And, because there’s no threat to human health from the contaminants inhabiting the mines, it’s not likely to move up the priority ladder.
As a matter of fact, even though Silverton and San Juan County rushed to meet the EPA’s deadline with little time for the public to review everything involved, the actual cleanup might not start for years.
First, Congress has to find some money, and if they don’t, the EPA has little to spare to begin the study process, which according to the Denver Post will take at least a year.
One of Hick’s demands in exchange for turning over the mines to the feds, was to continue treating water along Cement Creek where the EPA caused the spill, until the cleanup begins.
This would be the same condition that put Silverton in a fix in the first place — the EPA threatened to withhold treatment unless they surrendered to Superfund.
Interestingly, the Post article also states that cleanup will take “decades,” a warning we issued at the first mention of a Superfund boondoggle.
But now that we’re in this mess, members of the Colorado delegation who would rather undergo root canal than give the EPA funding for toilet paper, will find themselves the target of Democratic ire if they dare question any funding that goes into those wasteful coffers.
But question, they must, for we expect to see more mishaps and government misspending for which the EPA has now become famous.