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As Colorado Spill Hits New Mexico, Alarm Sounds Over Abandoned Mines


As Colorado Spill Hits New Mexico, Alarm Sounds Over Abandoned Mines

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Just days after workers with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accidentally spilled a million gallons of toxic mine waste into a Colorado waterway, the free-flowing sludge that turned portions of the state's Animas River orange reached New Mexico, where health and wildlife officials say they were not alerted to any impending contamination.


I keep remembering the reactionary right’s positions over the decades that relaxed, rolled back, dismissed or defanged non compliance penalties for regulations that would have avoided the problem entirely if adequate controls and protections had been instituted in the first place. The sense that the Reagan years are an environmental time bomb that is waiting to cause havoc unexpectedly is becoming pervasive. All those years of deregulation and all the get off the backs of industry claptrap have laid booby traps especially for new communities and developments that are built on formerly vacant land.

It is almost agonizing to consider how short sighted those decisions were to let the polluters pollute (or pay only nominal penalties for non compliance with regulations). We will now en up paying the (increased) cost for allowing industries to dump toxic waste with minimal oversight and pitifully lax oversight. Toxins can sit for decades before manifesting in the environment. Remember Love Canal? Right now fracking is manic, but someday what shall we do when aquifers and wells become contaminated? That is what lax enforcement and toothless regulations produce. Booby traps for the future!


I just cannot help it. I cannot see how an industrialized society can co -exit with a healthy living earth. I just got back from my walk, two miles up hill and then back. At the top of the hill, is a farm. White barn, house … never once have I seen anyone out and about there. I have been walking up there for about 5 years or more. However, today I did see some one, the owner. He was up on the roof of a shed, fixing it, putting aluminum on it. We talked. But, what I was going to say is, I told him just that… that I could care less if modern industrial civilization stopped tomorrow. I did say I would miss toilet paper and coffee.
Now, do not get me wrong here. There is one thing that say, fossil fuels are good for …or a small amount of them anyway. What the hell is that you say… well, something and someone has to keep all the GD Damn nuclear power plants from melting down. We need to shut them down, but of course that takes a few decades, so that is a real problem. I hope we are taking this into account as the sht hits the fan in the very near future. The “perfect storm” of events, is going to happen, it is unavoidable. There is no way, we have this much c02 up in the atmosher along with OTHER green house gases and then, financial issues, energy issues… it’s all a matter of time, … and oh, I left out another factor which will add to the “perfect storm” scenario… STUPID, GREEDY LEADERS…


Bloomfield, not Bloomington.


The “Precautionary Principle” got thrown out long ago. We don’t even come close to any semblance of applying it. Our regulatory system is a joke. That’s because the economics always trump all else - it’s built into the Constitution. The system needs an overhaul.


That’s what defunding the EPA does. Next Republicans will be defunding Planned Parenthood. They don’t care about polluting rivers and won’t care about women dying from coat hanger abortions.


I find it odd that the Federal EPA is involved in this. Where the state agencies and programs? Pennsylvania has an abandoned mine land fund that gets money from forfeited reclamation bonds and some other sources - it is inadequate, but nonetheless has improved a lot of abandoned mine drainage problems. One would think that Colorado would have far more involvement in this area without leaving it to the overstretched and underfunded EPA.


We don’t have access to clean water to drink, we die. It’s that simple.


“La Plata county director of emergency management Butch Knowlton was more
direct in his assessment. “The population that lives along this river is at the mercy of the EPA,” he said.”
As if it was the EPA that put the poisons in the mine in the first place. As if the contaminants would remain on site in perpetuity without the EPA’s involvement. A perfect example of ideologically driven, short-term, compartmentalized thinking.


“Water, water everywhere…and not a drop to drink!”

Welcome to the 21rst century…


Mines fill with water below the water table…that’s what they do. You would have thought someone would have figured out the volume of the mine below the water table and calculated how much water would be in it and pump it out. Not poke a hole in the dike and then say “damn! turns out the whole North Sea was behind that thing!” . More geniuses in government.


I wish people would get out of denial about the Democrats they are just as guilty as the Republicans, and I was a Dem. most of my voting years, I’m 66 and have always followed politics, history, environment, and human rights, as an old hippie who did NOT become a corporat yuppie enticed away from ethics and human survival by $$$. Both parties are corpRat hos building intergenerational wealth for themselves. We the people have no voice, no ear in the capitals of this predatory capitalistic soap opera written and directed by the NWO, the MIC, and the Banksters. We just pay the bills for our own destruction. If that isn’t evil I am braindead!


Piffle I say! Piffle! - anonymous

Lol Hey thepiffler… I’m with ya and may even have known ya back in the days if you were a hippie back before everybody had long hair. Yeah our generation knows the game - the duopoly oligarchy game. Hell we dropped out to drop in.

Nope we don’t…

…and then along came Bernie!

You and I both know that there hasn’t been a presidential candidate like him. First off he refuses to take the oligarchy’s pac money. Right there and then he deserves our support because he isn’t beholden to them nor in their back pocket. Unique is the word I think.

He apparently likes regular ordinary people and America and doesn’t think of us merely as working serfs and disposable commodities nor does he feel that America only a place to rob and plunder.

Btw… Bernie was there with us (yeah he was young once too…lol). He was for all those things that we were for in our hippie generation. He marched with us and got down with us too.

Can you imagine a politician like us? No I can’t either but Bernie comes pretty darn close! Lol


Already sent him my $! My concern is his promise to support HELLary if he doesn’t get the Dem. nomination from the Dem. convention and you know the game is rigged! They are already pressuring Vice Pres. Bidden to enter as they know people are onto psycho-phant (they are insanely greedy and suck up the Worlds’ wealth) Clinton and she is untrustworthy. We are not stupid out here!


We agree again although I think Biden is the rigged game’s shill candidate. I mean I’m sure that he would like to win but I think that no one thinks that he really would win. Put it this way, the repubs want Biden to run…lol. I think Biden would be another Obama… all promises, promises but little else. Biden is as much status quo old guard as is Hillary. In fact even more than Hillary is. Biden’s not a new face. Hillary can at least count on many women votes that Biden can’t count on per se.

I think whether Hillary opts out or not, Biden is a two time loser and that will lose him some votes. He isn’t an exciting candidate. If he was running now, his rally’s would be the equal of what the repubs are getting.

I tell ya, for the first time since Gore (I didn’t expect the election to be stolen from him), I am actually enthusiastic about a candidate. Gore was vastly better than Bush. However except on the environment where it is kind of a tie ) Bernie is better on more issues than Gore was. Gore would have kept us from being in this mess. I’ll give him that. Gore having the election stolen from him will remain one of those historical ‘what ifs’ that history buffs like to play.

But along came Bernie… Bernie I actually like. Really like. Not just like better than the insane repubs. I actually want him to be president. Most of my years (the same as yours…lol) I usually voted to avoid getting someone instead of voting for someone.

Bernie I think I will actually vote for. The first candidate I really want to become our president. This country’s last chance to roll back oligarchic rule.


Speaking of mismanagement: it is now being reported the Colorado spill is around 3 million gallons as opposed to 1 million. The pipeline break in S. California a short while back is much larger than first thought, too. This whole shebang is like the scene from Jaws where the mayor and city council go to 12 on the denial scale fearing the loss of America’s greatest asset; the filthy lucre, of course. Well, here’s where that goes off the rails because now those tourists won’t show up because of this lousy spill. At this point, " I think we’re going to need a bigger planet. "


That’s a damn good question. Colorado gets federal money for the inactive mine fund from levies against coal production, just like Penna. does. In fact, that program hired me for summer work documenting the inactive mines of Colorado 35 years ago. I haven’t followed the program since, other than to see their press releases on placing grates in front of mine adits so bats can still use the caves. There must be a bigger story here…


Well-Said/Written! Excellent comment that speaks volumes about the impunity of corporate polluters And to think that the communities rife with abandoned mines refuse to declare their region SuperFund sites because it may adversely impact tourism: so it is okay to subject tourists to potentially hazardous areas and to perpetuate the environmental and ecological degradation wrought by the time bombs? The powers-that-be put too much stock in the American awareness of SuperFund sites…ignorance is bliss.


Bush/Cheney took the burden of paying for the clean up away from the polluters and made the Superfund be taken up by the taxpayers instead. So now only the extreme worst case sites get dealt with on a prioritized schedule due to budgetary limitations and lesser sites have a long waiting list and fewer resources. Many are simply not declared superfund sites and not cleaned up at all.


Our planet is on sale - As is only - No returns.