The “unfortunate accident” that the EPA had near Silverton, Colorado recently has raised all sorts of questions, not the least of which is why it took the agency 24 hours to tell anyone about it. (The folks who draw water off the river are particularly interested in that one.) But hey… accidents happen, right? I mean, it’s not like anyone could have seen it coming. Except that the EPA actually did see it coming. During a late Friday night document dump the Environmental Protection Agency lifted the mask just a bit and revealed that they knew what they were getting into. (Yahoo News… some emphasis added)
EPA released the documents following weeks of prodding from The Associated Press and other media organizations. EPA and contract workers accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater on Aug. 5 as they inspected the idled Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.
Among the documents is a June 2014 work order for a planned cleanup that noted that the old mine had not been accessible since 1995, when the entrance partially collapsed. The plan appears to have been produced by Environmental Restoration, a private contractor working for EPA.
“This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse,” the report says. “ln addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.”
That report was from June of last year, but the EPA had more recent documentation on file. An “action plan” from three months ago also warned of the potential for a “blow out” if they opened up the mine. Their plan – such as it was – involved three basic steps which called for them to identify where the leak originated, block it and begin collecting any spilled material. That sounds great unless there’s millions of gallons gushing out and washing away the landscape.
One other aspect of this document dump caught my attention. (Additional emphasis added)
Much of the text in the documents released Friday was redacted by EPA officials. Among the items blacked out is the line in a 2013 safety plan for the Gold King job that specifies whether workers were required to have phones that could work at the remote site, which is more than 11,000 feet up a mountain.
Redacted? I’m sorry… did you say, “Redacted” by the EPA??? When our government releases records it’s common to redact information which can jeopardize national security and pose a danger to us or our allies. What precisely is it that the Environmental Protection Agency is doing which needs to be redacted? Are they afraid that the Russians will learn our secrets of how to kill off millions of fish and poison the drinking water?
Unless a better explanation is offered pronto, we need to find out what business the EPA has redacting anything which is requested and released by the press. Call me suspicious by nature, but this sounds like a case of covering somebody’s backside rather than guarding any of our national secrets.