EPA’s toxic spill in Colorado three times worse than feared

EPA’s toxic spill in Colorado three times worse than feared

DENVER—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the toxic spill that turned Animas River orange was an estimated 3 million gallons of contaminated water, three times the original EPA estimate.

Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:

“The so-called Environmental ‘Protection’ Agency needs to be held responsible for the disaster they created and the damage they have inflicted on our environment and economy. This environmental disaster is just one more example of why people do not trust the job-killing EPA and we have every right to question why our hard-earned money is going to such an incompetent and mismanaged government agency. This is now a multi-state issue, and people have every right to be absolutely outraged with the EPA, and the officials who continue to provide support and cover for this agency.”

Earlier Sunday, the city of Durango, Colo., and La Plata County, Colo. and the Navajo Nation Commission on Emergency Management declared a state of emergency in response to the dangerous spill.

According to the Durango Herald, early data released by the EPA shows levels of cadmium, copper, zinc and manganese spiking with some concentrations surpassing drinking-water “hazard quotients,” which defines the point a given metal becomes unsafe in drinking water.

The EPA plans to release a more comprehensive analysis in coming days to give residents a better understanding of what was in the plume, what danger it posed to health and safety and whether high metal concentrations will linger. According to CNNcities in New Mexico are at risk as the pollution flows from the Animas River into the San Juan River.

Kim Stevens, director of the advocacy group Environment Colorado said:

“This is a really devastating spill. We’ve been hearing from rafting companies and other businesses that rely on the river that if they can’t get clients out on the river in the next couple of days, they may have to shut down their doors.”

Additionally, the Durango Herald reported that Gov. John Hickenlooper, who plans to visit Durango on Tuesday, issued a declaration of emergency Sunday afternoon. The action makes $500,000 available to assist with cleanup.