By Gabriella Hoffman
If you recall, it was under the Obama administration’s EPA that 3 million gallons of toxic water contaminated the Animas River (which flows downstream to New Mexico). The previous administration cited sovereign immunity (meaning the federal government cannot be sued) and didn’t want to claim responsibility for $1.2 billion in damages. Now Pruitt is cleaning up the mess left by his predecessors by following through with his promise.
Here’s what Colorado’s foremost publication wrote on the subject:
The EPA employees who triggered the Gold King deluge were trying to help. They were working on privately owned property to help clean up historic contamination from decades of mining operations. Opening up the EPA for lawsuits in such situations sets a dangerous precedent.
But sometimes the government’s negligence is so egregious that hiding behind sovereign immunity — as the EPA did under President Barack Obama — becomes shameful.
My one issue with this article: why didn’t they see this gross negligence from the previous administration earlier? It was wholly apparent and clear who was responsible. Is it because Pruitt was deliberately mislabelled an enemy of the environment? Perhaps journalists shouldn’t jump to conclusions about true conservationists before they see them in action …
“I’ve already sent out a letter to all the claimants who have filed claims asking them to resubmit,” Pruitt told The Denver Post in a phone interview on August 4, 2017. “Some of those folks I’m sure I’ll meet today, and I’m looking forward to speaking with them directly. Farmers and ranchers, business owners, the recreational activities that occur on the Animas River — all were impacted, and from my perspective it was a wrong that we need to make right.”
After being labelled every bad name in the book for challenging the “green” orthodoxy with respect to environmental policy, Pruitt is actually working to move the EPA away from harmful preservationist policies.
For an administration that touted “clean energy” and “green initiatives” this malpractice and subsequent pollution in this Colorado river was the apex of EPA abuses during former President Obama’s tenure. How could observers forget stories involving EPA employees defecating in hallways, attempting to ban lead tackle and bullets, going after private property owners, and labelling all water sources navigable bodies of water, just to name a few? Here’s the takeaway: when agencies bloat to unmanageable heights, problems will ensue. This is why conservatives and libertarians are rightfully skeptical of accepting leftist environment policies and theories as fact, because they are hypocrites only after control.
Why does the government have to have complete wrest of the environment—especially putting in policies that hurt businesses and those who practice true conservation? People in the media need to give folks like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt the benefit of the doubt and trust him to clean up and modernize his agency. And if the EPA goes away eventually? The only people to cry over such a loss will be the bureaucrats who taint environmental policy at the agency.
Thank you, Denver Post. Let’s hope more publications offer fair coverage of Pruitt’s EPA.