American Elephants


The Navajo Nation Will Take Legal Action Against the EPA. Good Luck to Them by The Elephant's Child

“They are not going to get away with this.”

……………………………………– Russell Begaye,
……………………………………..president of the Navajo Nation

The toxic waste is proceeding inexorably downriver. People were advised not to use water for cooking, drinking or bathing before having their water tested. EPA Region 8 administrator Shaun McGrath acknowledged the possibility of long-term damage from toxic metals. Cadmium is responsible for the orange color. The Navajo nation will take legal action. Begaye has instructed the Navajo Nation Department of Justice to take immediate action against the EPA to protect Navajo families and resources.

The plume of sludge is expected to reach the heavily used Lake Powell by Wednesday. Downriver are the Grand Canyon National Park, Hoover Dam, and the water supplies of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. At least 30 million people are dependent on Colorado River water. This is a very big deal.

When the EPA went after the Sacketts in Priest Lake, Idaho for disturbing a residential lot with a view of the lake, claiming it was a “wetland”, the EPA fined them $37,000 a day for grading the lot in an established development. The EPA has a history of enormous fines designed to frighten the fined into immediate compliance. The Supreme Court put an end to the EPA’s overreach, but any public sympathy for the EPA has pretty much evaporated. I’m with the Navajo Nation on this one.



Massive Toxic Spill Desecrates Pristine Wilderness.The Negligent Party Will Probably Get Off With an Oops! by The Elephant's Child

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A million-gallon toxic-waste spill sent a huge plume of orange muck down the Animas River in southwest Colorado on Thursday was caused by the EPA’s very own cleanup crew which was working with heavy equipment to secure an entrance to the Gold King Mine.

Workers, instead managed to release an estimated one million gallons of mine waste into Cement reek, which runs into the Animas River, which in turn flows into the San Juan River in New Mexico and joins the Colorado River in Utah, which flows through the Grand Canyon, and eventually provides water for drought-stricken California. Why before you know it the muck would reach some of the “navigable waters” which the EPA is charged with protecting under the Clean Waters Act. For Shame!

The wastewater released contains heavy metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum. Newsweek reported that the orange color was reminiscent of cheap mac and cheese.

Were anyone else to so pollute the “navigable waters of the United States of America” the EPA would be fining them umpty-ump million dollars a day, and taking away all their toys.

Officials emphasized that there was no threat to drinking water from the spill. But downstream water agencies were warned to avoid Animas water until the plume passes, said David Ostrander, director of EPA’s emergency response program in Denver….The acidic sludge is made of heavy metal and soil, which could irritate the skin, he said….

The plume made its way to Durango on Thursday afternoon, prompting La Plata County health officials to warn rafters and others to avoid the water. The scenic waterway was the backdrop for parts of the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and is popular with summer boaters.

Durango stopped pumping water out of the Animas River on Wednesday to make sure none of the waste could be sucked up into the city reservoir. It also suspended the transfers of raw water to a local golf course and Fort Lewis College. Pet owners were advised to keep dogs and livestock out of the Animas.

There’s a scenic railway out of Durango, with wonderful old steam trains with cinders flying. The tourists will be in for a surprise!  Orange muck. Totally Gross!

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