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Cotton Introduces Legislation to Ensure EPA Accountability Following the Animas River Disaster

October 7, 2015

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) this week introduced legislation to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accountable for their role in the Animas River Disaster. Specifically, this bill allows damaged parties to sue the EPA, requires the EPA to pay for the damages out of their own budget-not additional funds provided by taxpayers, and it requires the EPA to create a long-term monitoring and response program.


"The EPA's negligence and lack of accountability in the Animas River spill is the ultimate example of hypocrisy considering the crushing regulations and punishments they've handed down over the last several years. It may be Colorado now, but it is impossible to trust their next disaster won't be in Arkansas," said Senator Cotton. "We must take action to ensure the EPA is both held accountable and incentivized to change their behavior."


Background: In August, the EPA excavated Colorado's Gold King Mine without first testing the mine's water pressure. The resulting "blowout" caused three million gallons of toxic waste to leak into the Animas River. In the days and weeks that followed the EPA failed to adequately take responsibility for the disaster, underplaying the severity of the spill and failing to warn affected states or groups of the incident. The EPA will not answer whether they intend to pay for the damage caused by the spill and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy refuses to testify before relevant committees.