Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hickenlooper Hits the Water a Little Quick

Governor Hickenlooper, true to his style and issue of economic development, gulped a glass of Animas River water as soon as it cleared and declared it safe and the area open for business.

Gov. Hickenlooper taking a gulp
of the Animas River water
Photo: Shaun Stanley, Durango Herald
Already having established his strong stomach for questionable fluids, Hickenlooper wasn’t going to let the dramatic pictures that went international of an orange river leave southwest Colorado with a reputation of being a toxic site. It was too close to the “all of Colorado is burning today” image the state received during the 2002 Hayman fire.

However, Hickenlooper was probably a little early on the river health endorsement, given the need for further study of the longer-term impact on streambeds and groundwater. It also will be poorly thought out theatrics if it lets the EPA off the hook for its share of responsibility and slow response or caused a loss of focus on the many other equally hazardous mining sites in the West.

John Frank and Joey Bunch covered the political aspects of the pollution spill in, “Animas River spill's political fallout defies expectations.”
Floyd Ciruli, a Denver-based pollster and political consultant, said the coloring of the river was so dramatic “that I think people are going to be naturally concerned about the long-term residual impact.”

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