EPA Earned Its Animas River Backlash - Because It Earned A Reputation For Abuse

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Animas River Credit: AP

Which organization threatened a Wyoming man with a $75,000-per-day fine because he built a pond on his own property and declared water a pollutant after encouraging the American Canoe Association to sue them over rapids in a Virginia river and then settled by telling one county they had to pay up to $500 million to fix the problem of having too much water in a river?

If you just answered "EPA" you are correct, and you probably are not surprised. They have long swung between being reasonable stewards of the environment (their pesticide analysis teams are among the best and most thorough scientists in the world) and being punitive bullies when it comes to their political goals. After the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, BP got fines in total of $54 billion, including $5.5 billion that went to the EPA for violating the Clean Water Act.

BP didn't do it on purpose. And yet most mainstream media have been stressing the term "accident" when it comes to the EPA violating the Clean Water Act and being incompetent about the toxic wastewater gushing out of a 19th century abandoned mine, something they never rationalize about corporations.

The public, and corporations who are witnessing this double-standard, are being far less forgiving. They think the EPA should be held to the same standard it holds everyone else. BP, and 21 subsidiaries unconnected to the spill were banned by EPA from obtaining new federal contracts due to a lack of business integrity and, writing at Real Clear Science, Alex Berezow and Todd Myers want to know who in government is going to prevent EPA from engaging in its business due to similar integrity issues.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? asked the Roman poet Juvenal in his Satires. Who can watch the watchmen? Will EPA Director Gina McCarthy be hounded from her job the way BP Chairman Tony Hayward was after being vilified by the EPA and media? Her minions are rushing door-to-door asking Navajos in the area to sign a document agreeing not to sue and she is saying that the environment will just fix itself so no harm done.

It will fix itself? Rushing to get waivers signed is suddenly ethical? Who knew those strategies were valid when engaging in blatant power grabs that result in disaster?

Image: AP, linked from Real Clear Science.