Animas River just north of downtown Durango, CO. Photo by: Ahodges7 / Wikimedia Commons
Animas River just north of downtown Durango, CO. Photo by: Ahodges7 / Wikimedia Commons

Gold King Mine is a Tipping Point

On Wednesday, August 5 the Environmental Protection Agency was inspecting the Gold King Mine, a suspended mine outside of Durango. The crew should have drained the contaminated waste water before creating an opportunity for the polluted water a chance to hit a main body of water.

Gold King Mine is one of tens of thousands of old mines in the state of Colorado.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported 3 million gallons of polluted water continues to flow into the Animas River in comparison to the EPA’s estimate of 1 million gallons of polluted water.

The EPA on one hand was trying to clear up a mine that been used by a private business to reap the benefits of the land, and leave behind the waste without taking care of it properly.

In most of the stories that I have reviewed covering this issue, from left wing to right wing, the overall perception is that the EPA caused the spill, and if we didn’t have regulatory environmental commissions, this would have never happened.

[Read over additional historic stories on water contamination.]

Listen in to The Street video below to hear a reporter come right out and blame the EPA at the 45-50 second mark. 

The majority of news outlets don’t come right out and say the EPA is at fault, but they don’t defend the fact that if wasn’t for Gold King Mine not taking care of their waste, this problem would have never taken place.

An underlying narrative that I see formulating is that the media wants to divide our support for the EPA to give a small, and indirect edge to the Republican party. It is common that the right does not want regulatory oversight on the environment. They tend to want less government overall.

The Denver Post reported that Gold King Mine is one of tens of thousands of old mines in the state of Colorado. They also mentioned that EPA officials announced their data last Saturday on the pH levels in the water.

Initial water sampling indicating pH levels reached 3.74 above Silverton in Cement Creek and 4.8 below Silverton in the Animas. Pure water has a pH of 7; the lower the pH level, the higher the acidity. The EPA results were limited and officials said Ph levels before the spill were between 6 and 7.

CNN reported that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper declared a state of disaster emergency on Monday, a move that allocates $500,000 from the state’s disaster emergency fund to pay for assessments and the response.

“Our priority remains to ensure public safety and minimize environmental impacts,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.

“By declaring a disaster emergency, we are able to better support impacted businesses and communities with state resources. We will work closely with the EPA to continue to measure water quality as it returns to normal, but also to work together to assess other mines throughout the state to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.