EPA accidentally causes toxic mine spill in Colorado

August 13, 2015

For much of the past week, a hot mustard-colored, poisonous avalanche of sludge has poured through Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. The severity of the spill was such that the governor of Colorado declared an official state of emergency, and officials have announced that access to the Animas River would remain closed off until at least August 17.

While the Environmental Protection Agency was immediately on the scene, working to contain the spill and start a cleanup process, the organization was also the cause of the disaster.

Shaun McGrath, the EPA administrator overseeing the region, released a statement on August 10, telling reporters that the agency "has launched an independent investigation to see what happened, and we'll be taking steps to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again." He added that "it's hard being on the other side of this. We typically respond to emergencies. We don't cause them."

Aside from admitting that more than 3 million gallons of toxic sludge slid through a dormant gold mine and into the river, the EPA has said little about the specifics of the situation, and has remained silent on the disaster's causes.

Aside from its environmental impact, the spill comes at an inopportune time for the EPA, as the agency has been pushing several politically charged policies that have met with heavy resistance.

Because of how rapidly they can change, staying on top of and following EPA regulations and policies can be difficult and time consuming. Hiring environmental consultants can help you better understand the latest government trends and regulations, and find quick, cost effective ways to meet them.