The boss of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy is upset about the fouling of the Animas River in Colorado last week and says, as Tomothy Cama of The Hill reports, that
"… it pains me to no end to see this is happening"
The river, as Julie Turkewitz of the New York Times writes, is
... the cultural soul of this patch of southwestern Colorado, a sort of moving Main Street that hosts multiple floating parades a year and is typically bustling with rafters and kayakers. Schoolchildren study the river. Sweethearts marry on its banks. Its former name, given by Spaniards, is el Río de las Ánimas, the River of Souls.
But since Wednesday, the Animas has been grievously polluted with toxic water spilled from one of the many abandoned mines that pockmark the region — a spill for which the Environmental Protection Agency has claimed responsibility, saying it accidentally breached a store of chemical-laced water.
On Sunday, anger over the spill boiled over after the agency announced that the amount of toxic water released was three times what was previously stated — more than three million gallons rather than one million — and that officials were still unsure if there was a health threat to humans or animals.
So one can understand Ms. McCarthy’s pain over what she calls “a tragic and very unfortunate incident…”
After all, as she said
“EPA’s core mission is to ensure a clean environment and to protect public health."
So, she and her agency are
taking full responsibility for the cleanup and recovery efforts.
Full responsibility? Will she, or anyone else be fired? Jailed? Or will it be the usual Washington version of “full responsibility,” which is a statement laced with self pity – really, who cares how much the poisoning of that river pains Ms. McCarthy – followed by something about how it is now time to “move on.”
Which she will do. She is scheduled to give
… a speech on the Obama administration’s carbon dioxide emissions limits for power plants.
Meanwhile, the people on along the course of the Animas River who depend on it for drinking, irrigation, recreation … livelihoods? Well they can rest easy since
E.P.A.’s regional director, Shaun McGrath is assuring them that
“We’re going to continue to work until this is cleaned up. And hold ourselves to the same standards that we would anyone that would have created this situation.”