Last Updated on December 29, 2020
As if oblivious to her performance while the chief of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden has selected the person responsible for a massive dump of pollutants into the Animas River in Colorado as his climate policy chief.
Biden is set to name former EPA director Gina McCarthy as his domestic climate policy chief. This would place one of the lynchpins of Barack Obama’s climate regulatory efforts as the lead policy maker for his climate strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
McCarthy, who will head the newly created White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, served first as the EPA’s air chief in Obama’s first term and was elevated to EPA administrator in his second.
— Bill (@Bill_321) October 4, 2017
In those positions, McCarthy administered the development of a plethora of climate regulations that targeted greenhouse gases from automobiles, power plants, oil and gas producers and even landfills.
President Trump has dismantled most of these economy-killing regulations since taking office. Ironically, a new UN climate report finds that greenhouse gas emissions during the Trump administration have plummeted, illustrating that the Obama era policies were wholly ineffective and unnecessary.
But, perhaps the most infamous event McCarthy oversaw as head of the EPA was that agency’s mishandling of a situation in Colorado that resulted in a true climate emergency.
In 2015, the EPA, under McCarthy, was directly responsible for the Animas River environmental disaster, which resulted in the release of millions of gallons of heavy-metal containing wastewater into the scenic Colorado river.
A 132-page report by the Interior Department and Bureau of Reclamation released after an in-depth examination of the August 5, 2015 “accident” found that the massive spill was not “inevitable,” as the EPA’s internal review concluded. Instead, the spill could have been avoided if McCarthy’s EPA would have followed engineering practices used at other inactive mines.
The report concluded that the agency committed a fatal error by failing to ascertain the level of wastewater behind the collapsed rock and soil at the mine. This level reading could have been achieved by using a drill rig to “bore into the mine from above and directly determine the level of the mine pool prior to excavating backfill at the portal.”
Remember when the Obama EPA poisoned the whole Animas River? pic.twitter.com/oMb6EAlJJt
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) April 8, 2018
In fact, the EPA bungled the clean-up effort at the Gold King Mine, causing the toxic spill, by cutting corners and rushing the job instead of taking standard operating procedure precautions that would have prevented the spill into the river.
The EPA ultimately took responsibility for the accident, but refused to pay for any damages caused by the disaster, citing sovereign immunity. The waste water reached Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, as well as the Navajo Nation. Multiple lawsuits are still ongoing. The Navajo Nation was compensated a total of $150,000.