The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Roll On

Those of us who oppose Big Intrusive Government (B.I.G.) are very concerned about the growth, scope, and arrogance that Federal (and to a much lesser extent) State governments. Over the past six years, government intrusiveness—in the form of thousands of costly regulations, unjustified tax increases, and unnecessary and often counter-productive government programs and mandates have caused the economy to stagnate, citizens to suffer, and worse, have accomplished little that is good for the country.

Nothing exemplifies this more starkly that the Colorado mine spill, precipitated by incompetent action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You haven't heard about the mine spill? That's probably because the trained hamsters in the media, friends of B.I.G. all, have spent relatively little time on it.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Last week an EPA hazmat team hoped to inspect an abandoned Gold Rush-era mine near Durango, Colorado, and the backhoe digging out the collapsed cave entrance breached a retaining wall. The blowout spilled the contaminated sludge that had accumulated for nearly a century in the mine’s tunnels into a creek that is a tributary of the Animas River, flowing at a rate of 740 gallons a minute.

The plume of lead, arsenic, mercury, copper, cadmium and other heavy metals turned the water a memorable shade of yellow-orange chrome. The sludge is so acidic that it stings upon touch. Colorado, New Mexico and the Navajo Indian reservation have declared states of emergency as the contamination empties into Lake Powell in Utah and the San Juan River in New Mexico.

The ecological ramifications are uncertain, though the San Juan is designated as “critical habitat” for the Colorado Pike Minnow and Razorback Sucker fish. The regional economy that depends on recreational tourism like rafting, kayaking and fly fishing has been damaged. Drinking water is potable only because utilities closed their intake gates, but pollution in the water table has deprived farmers and rural residents of a source for wells, livestock and crop irrigation.

For 24 hours the EPA failed to warn state and local officials, who learned about the fiasco when they saw their river become yellow curry. The EPA’s initial estimate of the leakage was exposed by the U.S. Geologic Service as three times below the real rate. The agency hasn’t explained the cause of the accident.

Yet the demands for reparations and the media outrage are notably muted. President Obama hasn’t budged from his vacation golf rounds. Imagine how the EPA and the green lobby would be reacting if this spill had been committed by a private company. BP could have used this political forbearance after it failed to cork a busted oil well a mile below the sea after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
In what has to be one of the more amusing interviews I've watched in a while, the Democrat Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, an Obama loyalist (and B.I.G. advocate), shrugged his shoulders about the EPA mess and said (paraphrasing), "We're all human, mistakes do happen." Can you imagine an Obama loyalist making the same statement about BP or GE or Dow? Maybe that's because major corporations are expected to be competent and B.I.G. is not. Or, maybe it's because Dems view major corporations as environmental criminals who (gasp!) try to make a profit and stay in business for the hundreds of thousands of employees who, by the way, pay billions in taxes.

Of course, this disaster was totally avoidable. The EPA, like most B.I.G agencies spends significant sums (my guess, 30% - 40% of budget) on make-work projects and unnecessary bureaucracy. This project was make-work—unnecessary and costly, with no tangible benefit. The EPA screwed up, and now the taxpayers will have to pay for their mistake. There will be zero accountability, no one will be fired, and B.I.G. will roll on.