The EPA not only caused a massive toxic spill that poured from an abandoned mine into the Animas River, they did it against basic common sense, working stupidly on the private property the mine is on, after threatening the owner who did not want to give them access. The EPA has not acknowledged or disavowed this claim as of yet.
The owner of the Gold King mine, Todd Hennis, told CBS Denver that the EPA forced him to give them access to the mine to investigate a discharge which they plugged up last year.
After the EPA was done and they removed the plug, the mine leaked more than 3 million gallons of toxic metals into the Animas and San Juan Rivers over the last two weeks.
Four years ago the EPA threatened the owner with a $35,000 a day fine if he didn’t let them on to work on his property. He said that when you’re the little guy you quickly put up the white flag.
Mr. Hennis said it all could have been avoided if the EPA and adjacent mine had acted on requests he made.
One of the excuses being used to deflect from the EPA’s responsibility in the spill is that the locals didn’t agree to the Superfund program.
The Superfund is only good at taking over private property and keeping business investments at bay with its onerous regulations.
It had absolutely nothing to do with the spill – nothing. The EPA wanted that false information out, it was another one of their leaks.
Hennis claims the water did not originate with the Gold King, but seeped into it from an adjacent mine, the Sunnyside. Its owners deny any responsibility.
There have been reports in the Denver Post and the Durango Herald that three mines adjacent to the Gold King are leaking.
The EPA removed the plug they put in with no planning and no backup plan.
A geologist by the name of Dave Taylor came close to predicting this exact leak two weeks before in a letter to the editor in the Silverton Standard. His prediction concerned two adjacent mines.
Taylor said he didn’t know they were going to fool with the Gold King as well as the two other mines. The EPA plugged a 500 gallon a minute leak in two mines next to Gold King.
“That old plug in the Gold King mine was kind of unstable material,” Taylor noted in his letter.
“It was incompetent and stupid for them to go up to that existing plug and try to remove it without knowing how much water was upstream and behind it and what the hydrostatic pressure was,” Taylor says.
“The plug was stable until they fooled around with it. Once they disturbed it, that’s what activated the blowout,” he added.
Mr. Taylor did not precisely predict this blowout though he was close.
In a second letter in the Silverton Standard, Mr. Taylor wrote, “I said I just can’t believe they were so … incompetent that they would go in there and attempt to do this – unplug the Gold King mine –without a backup plan.”
About the Gold King, Taylor told Breitbart, “They went to the entrance, the portal, and started blindly digging and this thing unloaded. Three million gallons behind that and it blew, and there was no stopping it,” he added.
Some believe the EPA did this deliberately but the fact is the EPA as an organization is just blatantly incompetent.
The EPA has been less than forthcoming about the results of their tests. Some professionals who have independently tested the water found lead at 12,000 times appropriate levels, others report 3,500 times the limit that is safe for humans. CNN reported that samples of beryllium and cadmium were 33 times higher, and one of the arsenic levels was more than 800 times higher.
The EPA has a known history of forcing owners to comply with their demands. They don’t use AK’s, they use outrageous and unconstitutional fines. It’s still force and is well beyond simple bullying.
The most famous case demonstrating the EPA’s use of force is probably that of Mike and Chantell Sackett.
The Supreme Court of the United States heard the case of Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 and ruled unanimously in the Sackett’s favor in 2012 though the case wasn’t over, it just guaranteed some of their basic rights.
The EPA deprived Mike and Chantell Sackett of their private property and due process rights, circumvented the courts, violated the Constitution, and used the Clean Water Act to do it.
Can a government agency deprive a citizen of their private property and their Constitutional rights? The EPA obviously believes it can.
The Sacketts were clearing their land to build a dream home in Idaho with all the necessary permits in place when the EPA told them to stop building, restore the land to its original condition, and pay enormous fines because their land was protected wetland even though it wasn’t listed as such on the EPA’s own documents.
The Sacketts were threatened with fines they couldn’t pay of up to $75,000 per day and faced financial ruin. They decided to fight. The Pacific Legal Foundation came to their aide, took their case, and argued it before the nine Supreme Court justices.
The EPA violated the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution in the Sackett case.
The Fifth Amendment is clear – No person shall be …deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
The Sackett case is an important one in that should help define how far a government agency can go in controlling private property but even when the EPA loses a case, they continue to violate the law.
The Sacketts continue to fight the EPA and their case is on remand.
Listen to the Sacketts yourself.