Where can I get an “End the EPA” bumper sticker? On Friday, the agency announced that while they found themselves guilty of dumping 3 million gallons of toxic waste into Colorado Rivers in 2015, they wouldn’t be paying the claims of those affected by the multi-state disaster that turned rivers yellow. So protecting the environment is very important to them, as long as they aren’t the ones footing the bill.
The EPA says the Federal Tort Claims Act prevents the agency from paying claims the result from “discretionary” government actions. Congress passed the law to allow government agencies — and in this case, contractors working on their behalf — to act “without the fear of paying damages in the event something went wrong while taking the action,” according to a press release from the EPA.
An EPA agency official said paying the claims would discourage such cleanup efforts in the future.
This is unreal. The EPA was in charge of handling the waste it leaked into the rivers, they investigated, found they were at fault and now are refusing to pay for their mess. So typical of of an over bloated government department.
The EPA says the work conducted at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colo., is considered a “discretionary function” under the law. Contractors on Aug. 5, 2015, breached the mine, which released more than three million gallons of toxic wastewater into a tributary that feeds the Animas River, which ultimately flows into the San Juan River and Lake Powell.
When senators can muster bipartisan support to line up against the EPA, you know the agency has over stepped it’s boundaries.
Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, New Mexico Democrats, and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued a joint statement saying they would continue pushing for legislation to hold the EPA accountable. They also said it would be up to the courts to determine whether the EPA’s defense is legitimate.
“We are outraged at this last-ditch move by the federal government’s lawyers to go back on the EPA’s promise to the people of the state of New Mexico — and especially the Navajo Nation — that it would fully address this environmental disaster that still plagues the people of the Four Corners region,” the statement reads.
The EPA has agreed to pay back $4.5 Million to the government agencies that were brought in to clean up the spill, but those farmers effected have not seen a dime, nor will they if this decision holds.