Brian Devine has one of the smartest takes on visceral outrage and deep underlying problems associated with the Animas mine release:
All development of the natural environment carries risk to our water resources. I suppose it’s human nature to ignore that fact and instead focus on the bright orange river staring you in the face.
Brian makes good points. On the other hand, the incompetence and lying at the EPA is a problem all on its own in addition to the slow leak of toxic materials from abandoned mines.
The workers at the EPA did not seem to know that if you pull the plug out of a dam all the water will flow out. Then they lied about how much stuff came out, saying that it was one million gallons when they knew it was three millions gallons. Finally, the EPAs director, Gina McCarthy, testified to Congress and seemed to know nothing about the EPA except the five political talking points that she was given.
So, to me, the mines have to be cleaned up but so does the EPA, the current and de facto guardian of this part of our natural resources.
Incompetence at the EPA is in part because the agency has been underfunded for at least a decade or two. One investigation should be on how these long term trends have affected the ability of EPA to do its job. But of course this won’t happen as that would expose the incompetence of Congress.