Reader’s view: “We can’t trust the EPA”

Nancy Lofholm reported for The Colorado Independent about many southwestern Colorado residents’ frustrations with the Environmental Protection Agency after the Gold King mine spill into the Animas River. Readers have responded from all sides of the issue. Below, Jonathan Lockwood of Advancing Colorado weighs in.

Dear editors,

In Nancy Lofholm’s August 11 story titled “Bad Water,” The Silverton Standard editor and publisher Mark Esper stated, “We have trust issues with the EPA.”

The rest of us can now see why people don’t trust the EPA, after they recklessly spilled millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the Animas River. What if a private company had done the same? After BP spilled oil into the Gulf of Mexico, they faced billions in fines that included charges of “environmental crimes.” BP gets fined, but the EPA gets rewarded with extra funds?

The EPA has had a long history of controversy, including fiscal mismanagement, meddling in state affairs and violating federal law. So it should not surprise us that the EPA did something wrong, again, and polluted our drinking water. Those pollutants have now traveled to several other states.

How dare anyone defend the EPA after the spill, and shame on the politicians and so-called environmentalists for hypocritically providing cover for the EPA. Everyone should be equally outraged, or even more outraged, with the EPA for hurting the environment we all love, and we all care about. We are after all forced to fund the EPA, whereas we are not forced to fund private companies.

In an effort to defend this egregious situation, EPA Chief Gina McCarthy stated, “We see that this river is restoring itself.” Would they give the same latitude to private companies? Did they give that latitude to BP? No.

When it comes to energy development, the EPA wants to handcuff innovation and creativity. The agency’s Clean Power Plan will continue to increase the price of energy, driving up the cost of living for Coloradans and the rest of the country. In fact, the Clean Power Plan will also hurt minority communities. Instead of letting the EPA run free so it can strangle American energy independence and handcuff innovation, we should handcuff the funding for the EPA to constrain them, and in doing so inflict pain on their budget to teach them a lesson.

Make no mistake, Advancing Colorado believes the environment is a gift that we should protect. But we don’t believe that a top-down approach from the federal government will protect our beautiful state, nor will it effectively and efficiently allocate the resources we need as Coloradans.

We can’t trust the EPA to do its job of protecting the environment, managing itself or proactively taking responsibility, and no one should question the town of Silverton for fighting the superfund designation.

Jonathan Lockwood

Jonathan Lockwood, is the executive director of the free market advocacy group Advancing Colorado, launched in May 2015. 


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