Gold King Mine owner said EPA forced him to allow access to Colorado mine

A startling admission relating to the events surrounding the Animas River spill. CBS News reveals that Gold King Mine owner Todd Hennis states the Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA) forced him to give the agency access to his mine or he or his company would be fined $35,000 a day until he did. Since he faced such huge penalties, he relented and gave the agency permission.

Todd Hennis said that the EPA did not complete its investigation of his mine’s sediment leak last year so they capped it. But upon returning this month, they re-opened it and the millions of gallons of polluted water poured out of the mine. He said that the water released from his mine ended up in his from another known as the Sunnyside. Dennis came forward saying that this entire accident could have been avoided, but he is glad the EPA has taken accountability for their mistake.

Just the fact that the EPA not only threatened fines to get Todd Hennis to give the agency access to his mine but also screwed up as badly as they did goes to show their incompetence. In fairness there is no indication that the agency had tried to ask Todd Hennis for access to Gold King Mine prior to their action. So it is possible Hennis and the EPA may have had a dispute. I still think there is some validity to retired Geologist Dave Taylor’s accusation that the EPA was setting the stage in order to force the issue so area residents would consent to making the region into a Superfund site or initiate some sort of massive taxpayer funded clean up.

What is even more concerning is the reaction by environmentalists toward this whole affair. Breitbart News asked the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club and Earth Justice why they weren’t outraged to the point where they are calling for EPA officials to be disciplined in the same way they were incensed over spill by companies like the British Petroleum spill in Louisiana.

While Earthjustice did not respond, to their credit, the Sierra Club replied with a press release putting the blame on the mining company and the EPA for the whole debacle and hoped the agency would resolve the matter quickly so as to prevent a similar incident. The NRDC’s President Rhea Suh released a statement saying that while the agency inadvertently triggered the mine waste spill last week, she blamed the disaster mining companies and Republicans in the House of Representatives.

4 thoughts on “Gold King Mine owner said EPA forced him to allow access to Colorado mine

  1. There’s always more. For about 10 days, EPA had one page among many of its other mine site cleanup pages with nearly 200 photos of the “Gold King Mine Release Incident”, many showing what they were doing right before the water poured out, and many as it came out. But on 8/16, they all vanished, so far without any official explanation that I can find:

    The 3-photo before/during/after composite I made on 8/12 here:


      1. Anytime. When I’m referred to as a “WUWT contributor”, it means guest posts like this one which originated out of my own blog .

        Ironic. I got to Colorado one week of the year to be away from all politics, news, and the outside world in general for mind-clearing & replenishing purposes, but my familiarity with that small area caused me to not let go of initial mainstream media reports about a ‘containment dam’ being breached ( ) because I couldn’t place where any open air dam would be there. I was only able to place exactly where this happened when I found EPA’s photo log.

        It’s part of a systemic problem with EPA. Steve McIntyre said at his blog back in 2009 ( ) “EPA guidelines require that highly influential scientific assessments meet a variety of sensible standards for transparency, data availability and due diligence – policies that CA [ClimateAudit] readers know not to have been implemented by the IPCC.” More recently, EPA has responded to FOIA requests by redacting documents in a way that would make NSA and CIA agents proud ( ).

        If an agency’s efforts to save the environment are clean as the wind-driven snow, there is no reason on Earth to hide a single element of it from the public.


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