Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy was recognized as 2015 “Conservationist of the Year” at a Thursday luncheon of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).
The green group is honoring McCarthy even though she presided over the spill of three million gallons of toxic and acidic mine waste-water from the Gold King Mine in Colorado last year.
NWF praised McCarty for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule, as well as the “agency’s commitment to addressing environmental justice concerns.”
The environmental group even selected a breakout quote for the luncheon of McCarty saying “the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too.”
The luncheon did not mention the EPA’s role in the Gold King Mine disaster which dumped 880,000 pounds of dangerous metals, such as lead and arsenic, into the waters of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah as well as the local Navajo Nation.
This is especially interesting because in August shortly after the Gold King spill, the NWF claimed “[t]he EPA owes the public answers, including the short and long term impacts of the spill, how it happened, and what it’s going to take to make it right.”
The agency’s websiteclaims the river is currently safe for humans, but still recommends “washing with soap and water after contact with untreated river water.” Other parties, including New Mexico’s secretary of the environment, say the river is dangerously polluted.
No EPA employee or contractor has been disciplined or otherwise punished for the Gold King Mine incident, and there is currently no criminal investigation into the spill. Conversely, the Flint, Mich., water crisis led to several resignations and terminations and a multi-agency criminal investigation.
McCarthy herself called the Gold King Mine disaster in Colorado an “accident,” but an analysis in mid-March by The Daily Caller News Foundation of government documents and public statements made it clear that EPA workers intentionally opened up the abandoned mine they suspected could blowout without the proper equipment. The agency did not notify the state government’s of Colorado or New Mexico until the day after the water spilled, has changed its story on how the disaster occurred and may have impeded its own internal watchdog’s review of the incident.
The Gold King Mine disaster has been linked by the local Navajo American Indians to an “unusual” spike in suicides. The Navajo president claims the spill “culturally and economically devastated the Navajo Nation, and the federal government’s failed response to this crisis has only added insult to injury.”
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