If you read Part 4 and Part 5 of this series EPA, the Department of the Interior, and the Gold King Mine Disaster, you are aware that retired geologist Dave Taylor predicted a potential mine blowout one week BEFORE the disaster occurred.  And following the wastewater spill, as Taylor predicted, EPA was finally successful with obtaining clearance for the Superfund designation it had sought for over 25 years.

EPA Superfund Program Lacks Transparency

Everything should be fine and dandy, right?  However, through the entire term of Former-President Barack Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy the EPA refused to answer questions or release information about its Superfund program or how it spends about $1 billion annually from more than 1,300 slush fund-like accounts.  “An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public relations official is blocking interviews sought by The Daily Caller News Foundation with employees believed to have vital information about the federal government’s $1 billion Superfund program.” [1]

Ethan Barton reported on June 21, 2016 “The DCNF is seeking information on how EPA tracks numerous aspects concerning contracts for the EPA’s Superfund program – an extremely complex operation that typically is only understood by officials working within the contracting office.  Tracking Superfund contracts is especially important on public health and environmental issues as they can provide a window into how the EPA spends billions of dollars from the program’s thousands of slush funds.”  Rather than answering Barton’s questions and granting requests for interviews, EPA determined his requests “would best be answered via a FOIA request”. [1]

Barton previously reported that EPA officials conduct closed-door meetings twice a year to decide how to spend Superfund money while keeping all reports and meeting minutes secret.  In fact, Superfund accounting isn’t the only secret the EPA keeps from the public.  They don’t release information or reports on the priority of the sites, even though 329 Superfund sites could expose humans to dangerous contaminants. “That revelation is crucial, considering EPA withholds details about the special accounts, as well as sites endangering humans, from Congress.  Not having such information effectively prevents Congress from exercising its constitutionally mandated oversight of executive branch agencies like EPA” said Barton. [2]

EPA Superfund Sites Out of Control

More than 25 million Americans live within 10 miles of 114 sites that the federal government says are “not under control” and contain toxic waste that is not only considered dangerous, but sometimes carcinogenic.  EPA lists more than 260 pollutants at these sites.  These 114 sites are among 1,623 currently or formerly included or proposed for Superfund action.  An additional 224 Superfund sites have uncontained migration of contaminated groundwater. [3]

Considering the public health danger posed by these locations and the huge sums of taxpayer money involved, why is the EPA so reluctant to release information on: (1) the ranking of the most dangerous sites; plans for addressing the health risks posed by exposure to contaminated soil, water and/or air; (2) timetables for clean-up of the sites; and (3) funding needs or use of funds?

Alex Fidis is a Superfund attorney for the public interest group U.S. PIRG.  “[This] is ridiculous,” he said.  “The fact that information as paramount as making sure that humans are not being exposed to contamination is being withheld from the [Senate] Environment and Public Works Committee is outrageous.” [3]

The EPA website states “Our mission is to protect human health and the environment.” [4] Apparently providing information on how it plans to do that is not part of its mission.  And EPA also wants it’s checkbook to be off-limits to the public – even though the American taxpayers are making all the deposits.  It is time for the new administration under President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to be more transparent in how the EPA operates and spends tax-payer dollars.


How may we serve you?

Article by: Tami Schmitt

Photo by: Fabian Blank

1 http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/21/feds-obstruct-media-probe-by-blocking-interviews-with-key-officials/#ixzz4CKQx2naF




Print Friendly, PDF & Email