Skip to comments.Remembering the Gold King Mine Blowout ( Colorado, NM, and Utah )
Posted on 09/03/2020 10:43:10 PM PDT by george76
On the fifth anniversary of the notorious spill of 3 million gallons of heavily contaminated acid mine water from the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Utah announced an agreement that ends the states lawsuit.
Neither the EPA nor the contractors involved at the Gold King spill site are entirely off the hook for their alleged missteps that resulted in downstream damages. Lawsuits filed by the Navajo Nation, the State of New Mexico, and a group of Navajo farmers and ranchers have been consolidated, and discovery is proceeding, with a projected trial date sometime in late 2021.
A contractor under EPA supervision used a backhoe to dig away tons of rock and debris that were blocking the entrance portal of the Gold King Mine, which had been mostly abandoned since 1923. Because of steady seepage, the EPA should have known that the water was highly acidic (pH 4.0-4.5) and laced with heavy metals. It could and should certainly have checked.
Before undertaking its incompetent cleanup, EPA had threatened Gold King property owner Todd Hennis with a $35,000 per day fine unless he granted them access to the property (which the agency and its contractors then turned into a disaster zone).
Driessen found the testimony of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell shocking, as she stated she was unaware of anyone being fired, fined or even demoted and that federal investigations and reports refused to hold anyone responsible for the ensuing disaster.
then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy... disavowed any personal or agency responsibility and sent the Navajo emergency water tanks contaminated with oil. Then FEMA denied the Navajo any disaster relief, which prompted nearly 300 affected farmers and ranchers to file a separate (now consolidated) lawsuit.
(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...
Colorado Ping ( Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from the list.)
Yes! I remember!!!
One bunch of printed gooberment script I’ll be happy to see paid to the victims of the EPA.
They made a real mess of the Animas River. We were there in ‘16 and you could see the sediment down in the rocks.
Yup, and it keeps bleeding off every time it rains a lot and the river rises.
That initial runoff water is now in Lake Mead.
That is one little fact they wont admit. They wont admit that they polluted the entire Colorado River system from there all the way down.
I mapped the 2150 vein in the Sunnyside mine. It was my thought that it projected to the Gold King veins although I didn’t push that idea. The geologists at the Sunnyside had a similar idea and had hopes of ultimately dealing with the Gold King owners.
Once Echo Bay took over the Sunnyside, I believe they eventually connected with the Gold King workings. When they were ready to abandon their activities in the Sunnyside, they responsibly put some thick cement plugs in place to stop drainage out of their workings, but those wouldn’t have stopped Gold King drainage.
Someone needed to put a cement plug in the Gold King tunnel instead of relying on some tunnel and over burden collapse to seal its water accumulation. Then the EPA idiots and their contractors would never had to have been messing with the Gold King tunnel seals.
3 million gallons... Doesn’t sound like a whole lot to me, but a quick little gee whiz calculation reveals that’s how much water flows over Niagara Falls every four seconds. THAT’S A LOT!
A local geologist sent a letter to the local newspaper warning of what would happen if they tried to dewater the mine by punching a hole in the retaining wall at the bottom of the mine. He was right on.
I didn’t get to work on that case and am glad that I didn’t. Total EPA clusterf*ck. Reminds me of the Stringfellow case (lasted about 18-25 years). Another CERCLA screwup until the law was updated into reality.
A letter to editor written by Dave Taylor, from Farmington, New Mexico, was published in The Silverton Standard and The Miner , a retired geologist, one week before the EPA toxic waste dump..
The letter detailed how EPA officials would foul up the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money and power.. If the Gold King mine was declared a superfund site it would essentially kill future development for the mining industry in the area. The Obama EPA is vehemently opposed to mining and development by working Americans.
A cement plug in the Gold King portal would have been a tacit admission that the mine was to be abandoned. Frankly the first step in reopening the mine would have been a dewatering program into a series of ponds where alkali additives could have raised the pH before release into Cement Creek which drains into the Animas.
Dewatering would have allowed geologists to map and sample the vein structures. This would have been followed by a drilling program. Frankly I don’t know why the owners didn’t promote this sort of program to a major mining company. Failure to find economic ore after such a program would have practically mandated a cement plug.
I’m really uncertain if Echo Bay ever came near the old Gold King workings as it was hard to tell on the tiny mine maps I’ve seen. It looks like they were very close and may have been below the old working which wouldn’t have dewatered the mine. If they did open the old workings, the water would have flowed in the Sunnyside workings and out the American Tunnel into Cement Creek.
I used to live on the Animas River at Farmington and Aztec back in 1954-1956. Caught my first fish in the river at Farmington.
But then, if the river was so acidic, mixing it with Alkaline ground water from the Farmington area should neutralize the acid some.
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