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August 12, 2015

Good WaPo Article on the Cement Creek Clean-Up Project, and Ensuing Disaster

Worth reading.

The article, naturally, makes sure you know the EPA's side first and foremost, but if you, like me, knew almost nothing about this latest government disaster, it's a very good primer.

I don't know if I buy the claim I saw that nothing much had to be done with the mine; it was leaking heavy metals and toxins. I don't know what level of that is relatively safe.

The letter to the editor protesting the EPA's plan is real, but it didn't really "predict" the disaster, as I first thought. The writer seems to be arguing that plugging the well in one area would just build pressure and force water, at the same rate of flow, somewhere else. (That rate it seems is 500 gallons per minute.) Update: I'm now not sure he's saying that. He could be talking about a more explosive release (i.e., like what happened).

The actual disaster was caused when the EPA, attempting to shore up a wall of the mine, crashed through it with "heavy machinery," and a neighboring source of water swept through the mines and into the rivers. Update: reading more carefully, the article suggests that's what happened without saying so. It actually speaks in the passive voice of the wall coming tumbling down -- without directly noting what caused that.

This resulted in several million gallons of the waste-tainted water rushing out in just a few minutes.

Not really the same -- though the guy's basic point, that this is a relatively minor flow of toxic chemicals, and that the EPA's remediation would fail (and bring about the Superfund designation the EPA wanted and the locals resisted), is true, but only in very broadest outline.

The argument that they intended this to happen I leave to others; I don't think things work that way.

It's just another example of people who are simultaneously 1, religiously-possessed crusaders and 2, utter incompetents, rushing in to "fix the world" and making a toxic hellhole of it all.

Funny that Obama's estimates of the damage he's caused never get smaller over time; it's almost as if they lowball the public at first, and then only gradually acknowledge the truth, treating the public like the mythical frog who won't hop out of slowly boiling water.

Remember when the OPM non-hack was officially initially estimated to only affect a couple of million government workers, and no military or intelligence officials or civilians?

Good times, good times.

Update: Now I'm thinking maybe the letter is pretty predictive.

Look, I don't know, I keep being convinced by whoever I talked to last. You can compare the letter to the EPA's (claimed) account of events and make your own mind up about how specifically predictive it was.

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posted by Ace at 06:16 PM

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