Critics Skeptical of EPA’s Release of Colorado Toxic Spill Data

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald via AP
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald via AP

The EPA is out with data on the August 5 toxic spill in Colorado, but critics are skeptical about the validity of the information, and the agency’s actions to clean up the mess it created.

“EPA has been known to manipulate data before, and no one should take the agency’s assessment seriously until EPA’s methodology and findings have undergone a thorough review by disinterested third parties,” says Bonner Cohen, Ph.D., senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

In a press statement accompanying the release of the data, the EPA said it was “posting graphs to show the trending concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in surface water over time. These trend graphs were created from pre-event and post-event data posted to this website between August 10, 2015 and August 22, 2015.”

“Based on the comparison of pre-event data with data collected over the past two weeks, the pre-event sampling data show that concentrations for all 24 metals in surface water are trending toward pre-event conditions,” the EPA statement concluded.

But Bonner and other EPA skeptics are taking this conclusion with a grain of salt.

“What makes this case unique is that EPA is the polluter and on a grand scale,” Bonner tells Breitbart News.

“The agency ignored warnings from geologists and others familiar with the situation that its plan to plug the Gold King mine was flawed. It even ignored voices within the agency that pointed to the risky nature of what EPA was proposing to do. By going ahead anyway, EPA has done great harm to the affected region’s communities and environment. It has good reason to understate the damage it has caused,” Bonner concludes.

Dr. David Lewis, a former EPA research scientist, is also skeptical.

“EPA’s assurances should be taken in context,” Lewis tells Breitbart News.

“The most serious threat is posed by the contaminated river sediments; and EPA is just reporting dissolved metals. Only a tiny fraction of the contamination is dissolved at any given moment,” Lewis notes.

“For now, the dissolved metals are trending downward as the contaminated sediments move downriver toward Lake Powell, where they will settle out. There, low levels of lead, arsenic and other toxic metals will continue to bleed out into the water column for decades or longer, and begin to bio-magnify in wildlife and humans living in and around the lake,” Lewis says.

“They are far more soluble in fat than water. Over years of exposure, they will accumulate to much higher levels in breast milk and body fat, which can lead to cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders,” Lewis concludes.

In its statement, the EPA stated that its “long-term concern is the effect of metals deposited in sediments in the entire watershed and their release during high-water events and from long periods of recreational use,” and pointed the public to this data map, which can be seen here.

Dave Taylor, the retired geologist who predicted the EPA project that caused the spill would fail, tells Breitbart News that the mere expression of concern by EPA is not enough.

“The EPA expressed concern for future high level water events when sediments wash downstream. Interestingly, they only call for monitoring of this and don’t mention anything about cleaning up the silt NOW before it washes downstream to Durango.”

As Breitbart News reported previously, the EPA has demonstrated a pattern of absolving itself publicly from any blame for the consequences of the massive toxic waste spill which was caused by its own incompetent actions.