Tuesday, July 18, 2017

EPA Claims Immunity From Damages In Gold Creek Mine Disaster

The EPA claims it is not responsible under the Federal Tort Claims Act passed in 1946 because in passing the act "Congress wanted to encourage government agencies to take action without the fear of paying damages in the event something went wrong while taking the action."

In actuality, the FTCA was passed not to expand immunity but instead to limit the government's sovereign immunity. Prior to the act's passing, the federal government could not be sued. This claim by the EPA is an obvious lie, an "alternative fact" if you will.

The EPA further claims that the act "does not authorize federal agencies to pay claims resulting from government actions that are discretionary – that is, acts of a governmental nature or function and that involve the exercise of judgment."

Under the EPA's interpretation, most actions by the government and its contractors would again enjoy sovereign immunity, the abandonment of responsibility for damages caused.

"An Environmental Protection Agency crew accidentally triggered the August 2015 spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine in southwest Colorado. The spill released 3 million gallons of water laden with arsenic, cadmium, copper and other heavy metals." The EPA-led contractor crew was doing exploratory excavation work at the Gold King mine entrance in advance of a possible cleanup when workers "accidentally hit a wall in the opening of the mine..."

The action of accidentally hitting a wall does not involve judgment as to how hard to hit the wall or whether or not the wall should be hit. Claiming immunity from damages under the FTCA law because the action was discretionary is ludicrous. Neither was the exploratory excavation discretionary; it was an action undertaken as part of the statutory responsibility of the EPA. To claim otherwise is laughable and an obvious attempt to abdicate responsibility. Under any definition of action, the EPA is liable.


[http://www.denverpost.com/2017/06/26/supreme-court-declines-colorado-new-mexico-mine-spill-suit-arguments/ - Note: the SCOTUS ruling in this link only had relevance as to the venue for New Mexico's lawsuit against Colorado; it was not a ruling on EPA's liability.]

Related links:




Plus others stories found using the link http://www.daily-times.com/search/epa%20navajo/.

No comments: