EPA Pardons Itself in the Animas River Pollution Case
EPA message to the little people: If you like your river, you can’t keep your river.
As President Obama spends the remainder of his presidency pardoning trangenders who disclosed vital security information, appointing fabulists to key positions, and releasing dangerous Gitmo detainees, people are beginning to mull over what we will remember most about this era.
I assert that the damage caused by the rogue bureaucracy within the Environmental Protection Agency will float to the top of legacy cesspool. So, while Democratic politicos grill Scott Pruitt, the candidate likely to head the EPA in the Trump administration, the agency has finished its misrule under Obama appropriately enough.
The EPA has pardoned itself from paying claims totaling more than $1.2 billion for economic damages from a mine waste spill the agency accidentally triggered in Colorado the summer of 2015.
The EPA said the claims could be refiled in federal court, or Congress could authorize payments.
But attorneys for the EPA and the Justice Department concluded the EPA is barred from paying the claims because of sovereign immunity, which prohibits most lawsuits against the government.
“The agency worked hard to find a way in which it could pay individuals for damages due to the incident, but unfortunately, our hands are tied,” EPA spokeswoman Nancy Grantham said.
The EPA is hiding behind the Federal Tort Claims Act, indicating that it prevents the agency from paying claims the result from “discretionary” government actions. Congress passed the law to allow government agencies to act “without the fear of paying damages in the event something went wrong while taking the action,” according to its press release.
However, many people are not buying into that reasoning. To begin with, representatives from the region impacted by the toxic wastewater release will pursue restitution.
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 Colorado governor will not roll over, either.
Gov. John Hickenlooper released a statement, saying the state would continue to fight for residents.
“We are disappointed in the EPA’s decision. We expected the EPA to make good on its promise to reimburse any Colorado resident or business that suffered a legitimate loss as a result of the spill,” he said in the statement. “The Attorney General has agreed to help us find ways we can make sure our residents receive just compensation.”
The Navajo Nation vows to continue its fight for compensation.
Navajo Nation officials say they are outraged the Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to pay millions of dollars in claims filed against it following the devastating Colorado Gold Mine spill.
…“The Navajo Nation call upon our Congressional leaders from the states of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona to do what is right for our people by demanding that the U.S. EPA reconsider its decision and that the U.S. EPA provide full compensation to the many Navajo people who sustained extensive losses due to the spill that was caused by the agency,” Navajo Nation speaker Lorenzo Bates said last Saturday.
I sure hope Pruitt brings up this debacle during his
grilling hearing, as I would like the Democrats on the committee to understand prevention pollution is the mission of the EPA (and not imposing global warming theology).
I would like to humbly offer this piece of advice to President-Elect Donald Trump: Direct Pruitt to go on an apology tour of the region, and personally hand out checks to the people of New Mexico and Colorado hurt by the EPA’s shenanigans. Then tweet about it. This will surely help ensure Trump’s victory next time in these two states, which went for Hillary Clinton last November.
I offer this as the perfect slogan for this area in 2020: If you like your river, you can keep your river.
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to the full extent allowed by law.
I would love to see Pruitt reverse this very quickly in his first few days in office, and agree to completely pay all claims from this disaster.
AND THEN I hope he does it out of current appropriations, which might just mean a huge layoff of personal, and wholesale cutting of certain departments because there will be no more money to fund them. That’s why EPA won’t pay, of course. That’s what they’re scared of.
If he’s really good he’ll have dinner with Jeff Sessions a few times, and then Jeffie boy can announce a full criminal investigation into any EPA employee involved in this, hopefully ending with indictments heading as high up as they can go.
Would charges of ‘Domestic Terrorism’ be considered for some of the Obama administration actions? There seems to be plenty of malice and forethought involved against American citizens.
The Trump administration should pay the aggrieved for this shit but they should also attribute the persons responsible for it – the Obama admin and the EPA at that time. Liz
Every Obama appointee’s pension should be garnished to pay for this. (We can dream.)
Reality is that within a few weeks, the MSM will suddenly notice the yellow river, blame Trump and call for Pruitt to resign.
According to Obama, this did not qualify as a scandal.
I want the same criminal charges as if a private entity did the same.
Tort claims? How about criminal prosecutions?
How about in a few months, after Obama comes out as Chelsea Obama, and he starts running around in a cocktail dress, blaming Trump for Animas River disaster.
eliminate the EPA, terminate all its employees, and seize their pensions funds to pay the debt, as fruits of a criminal enterprise.
and jail those at the top of the EPA and Barry the Dimwitted
The CO governor remained passive about this outrage.
Actually went to the site and pretended to drink right from the river.
DISGUSTING display of Obama loyalty rather than loyalty to his citizens.
If this took place in Cleveland or Detroit rather than on an Indian Reservation, would the results be different?
“Any man who believes he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him,better take a closer look at the American Indian.” Henry Ford
And the really, really good thing about this whole thing.
Not one of these federal employees will ever, ever be held personally accountable.
Immunity. What’s not to like about that?
The entire EPA needs a good housecleaning. Hopefully Trump has that on his agenda. BATF and the ATF are probably the most corrupt and incompetent of government.