Citizens of the Rocky Mountain state are relying on the incoming Trump administration to require that the EPA pay damages in the wake of a massive agency-caused toxic water spill in Colorado.
Republicans and Democrats have criticized the agency’s decision to ignore victims associated with the Gold King Mine spill, which released 3 million gallons of dangerous metals like lead, cadmium and arsenic into the Animas River.
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and his Democratic colleague Michael Bennett blasted the Obama administration Thursday for its refusal to help the spill victims.
“I applaud Attorney General Pruitt’s commitment to review the EPA’s decision to not process FTCA claims related to the Gold King Mine spill,” Gardner said Thursday in a statement, referring to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), a nearly 70-year-old law the EPA suggested gives them sovereign immunity from paying $1.2 billion in damages.
Bennett, meanwhile, chided the EPA for skirting its responsibilities.
The EPA, and other agencies have acted as if they're above the laws for years. It's time to rein them in and make them accountable. In other news, Trump also told them to sit down and shut up for a while:
“The record is clear that the Environmental Protection Agency was responsible for the spill. It is extremely disappointing that the EPA has categorically rejected every single claim filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act,” he said in a statement. “The agency has broken its promise to make our communities whole in the days after the spill.”
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, a tribe whose water supply was affected by spill, said he’s hoping Congress and the Trump administration will force the EPA to take responsibility.
“There is no reason our families on the front line of this spill should have to tighten their belts while the federal agencies responsible proceed along unaffected by their own actions,” Begaye said Thursday.
Trump Orders Media Blackout At EPA: Bans Use Of Social Media, Bars New Contracts
Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press, detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts. On Monday, the Huffington Post reported that EPA grants had been frozen, with agency employees barred from speaking of the matter. The memo ordering the social media blackout is shown below.