You probably remember the disastrous spill at the Gold King mine in Colorado which was caused by EPA inspectors getting a bit too loose with their drilling equipment. The resulting outpouring of contaminated water affected people in multiple states, particularly some Native American tribes who are still pursuing legal remedies though the courts. In case you were wondering if anyone would be held accountable, the Inspector General’s office at the EPA did conduct a full investigation to see if there was any criminal culpability and it recently drew to a close. They turned the case over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office but… surprise, surprise, surprise. That office of the Justice Department has decided not to pursue it. (Government Executive)
Federal prosecutors have decided not to bring criminal charges to Environmental Protection Agency employees involved with the 2015 leak of wastewater at an abandoned mine, the agency’s inspector general announced this week.
The EPA’s inspector general previously launched a criminal probe in conjunction with the Justice Department after the work of EPA employees led to a blowout at the Gold King Mine in Colorado, which resulted in 3 million gallons of toxic water spilling into multiple rivers in the region. The IG said an EPA employee may have violated the Clean Water Act and False Statements laws. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, however, has declined to prosecute the employee.
So what do they plan to do with all of that information? The IG has been instructed to put together “a Report of Investigation for submission to EPA’s senior management for review,” A spokesman for the IG’s office said that the agency will also be required to report any administrative action it takes in response. (In case you didn’t catch that part, “administrative action” doesn’t mean criminal investigation. It will be handled internally and probably be booted by the union representatives.)
Yes, that’s right. To phrase it in a way that’s more commonly understood, the EPA will be receiving a strongly worded letter. Republican lawmakers are already going ballistic on the Attorney General over this, but in the end there’s probably nothing they can do when the feds exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in this fashion.
If you’re not noticing a pattern here then you haven’t been paying attention. When it comes to long, drawn out investigations and attempts to prosecute anyone even remotely associated with either Barack Obama or the Clintons, it’s pretty much a lost cause. This started when the State Department IG spent more than a year investigating Huma Abedin and turned over an embezzlement case for prosecution. The Justice Department tossed it in the circular file. Then, of course, we had the endless debacle of Clinton’s email server and the FBI’s eventual decision that it wouldn’t be worth all the time and hassle to prosecute her. And now, in the closing days of the Obama administration, the EPA won’t be pestered with any nagging court appearances over a little thing like dumping millions of gallons of toxic sludge into a river system. Do you suppose they’ll be going to court over their coverup of the Flint Water situation for months on end while people kept on drinking poison? Don’t bet the farm on it, campers. There’s probably another strongly worded letter coming, though. Man… that’s got to sting.