The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology began hearings on Wednesday to investigate the causes of the Gold King Mine spill in August in Colorado, according to the Denver Post. The Animas and San Juan rivers were temporarily closed after the EPA released three million gallons of toxic wastewater into the Animas. Southern Colorado’s tourism and recreation industries were affected by the spill, as were the Navajo tribe members in New Mexico who depend on water from the San Juan for irrigation.
“Today, we will examine how this disaster, which negatively affected thousands of people, occurred and why the warning signs that should have prevented it from happening were negligently dismissed,” committee chairperson Rep. Lamar Smith said in a statement. “Had the EPA exercised the same care in making their decisions as an ordinary prudent person, this whole incident could have been avoided. The EPA should be held accountable. The same standards that the EPA applies to private companies should also apply to the EPA itself.”
The Gold King Mine is only one of 20,000 toxic mines in Colorado.