EPA punishes Gold King spill disaster contractor with... millions in new contract awards

It’s a banner day for thrift and spending control in the federal government. Earlier, Ed already talked about the cash bonanza at the VA, but that’s being followed up by breaking news from the Environmental Protection Agency. You probably recall that unpleasant little incident at the Gold King mine in Colorado where they spilled millions of gallons of toxic sludge into the local river system. Well, the contractor who was employed by the agency during that particular disaster has been identified and the EPA had a good, long talk with them. The result was to award them millions of dollars in new contract enhancements because… why quit now just when things are going so well? (Daily Caller)


Environmental Protection Agency officials awarded nearly $2.7 million in contract enhancements to Environmental Restoration LLC after the firm was involved in the Colorado Gold King Mine disaster that dumped three million gallons of yellow wastewater into a drinking water source for people in three states and the Navajo Nation.

The wastewater poured into the Animas River, a Colorado River tributary that supplies water to people in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The company also got a contract enhancement worth nearly $1 million from EPA on Aug. 4, 2015, the day before the spill, according to documents compiled by the Project on Government Oversight, a non-profit government watchdog group.

If you followed our earlier coverage of the lavish spending which goes on at the EPA you already know about the designer furniture sprucing up their offices and the number of employees on long term paid leave. The Daily Caller spoke to Adam Andrzejewski, founder of the Open The Books government transparency non-profit. Adam has been tracking this as closely as anyone and it seems as if this series of embarrassing revelations is reaching a tipping point.

“The EPA has taken the concept of ‘performance bonus’ much too far by giving their on-site contractor even more work after a natural disaster at Gold Ring,” Andrzejewski told TheDCNF.

“Had the spill soiled one of the EPA’s $730 office chairs, the contractor would have been fired on the spot. If the EPA spent as much time choosing contractors as they do shopping for furniture and military hardware, our environment would be a much cleaner place,” he said.


This isn’t anything new for the EPA. Let’s move on to the bonus round and look back to 2012 when the agency spent your tax dollars on a Chinese study of pig excrement. No… I’m not making that up.

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $141,450 grant under the Clean Air Act to fund a Chinese study on swine manure and a $1.2 million grant to the United Nations for clean fuel promotion.

Meanwhile, there was another story we missed out on last month which deserves attention. When the EPA does actually get up out of their expensive chairs to do something, it’s usually to shut down legitimate business interests as a favor to their friends in the green activist movement. There was an application for mining permits on Pebble Bay in Alaska under consideration this year and the EPA shot them down. Nothing all that unusual there, but the fact that they refused to even investigate the situation first made the move unprecedented. (The Hill)

The House Oversight Committee report on Wednesday says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knew its “preemptive veto” of the Pebble Bay project last year was “unprecedented,” that it blocked the mining permit before reviewing petitions on the matter and that it improperly worked on the permit denial with mining opponents.

In a letter to the EPA, three committee Republicans write that the agency’s denial of the project was “highly questionable and lacking a legal basis.”

“The findings … show that EPA’s actions with respect to Pebble Mine are highly questionable and lacking a legal basis,” the members, led by Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), write in their letter. The lawmakers ask the EPA to withdraw its denial decision and conduct a further review of the project instead.


What level of absurdity do these stories need to reach before there is sufficient outcry from the public that Congress and the White House will take action? This is a blatantly political organization now, rife with both incompetence and liberal bias. How many tens of millions of dollars must be flushed away and what levels of internal corruption and abuse must be exposed? And yet not only does nobody lose their jobs, but the hemorrhaging of cash continues as if they’re just thumbing their noses at us now because they know we can’t do anything about it. Wasn’t this supposed to be our money? Aren’t they supposed to be working for us?

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John Sexton 7:00 PM on December 09, 2023