Colorado residents gathered earlier this month on the banks of the Animas River. But neighbors did not gather together to enjoy the scenery or wildlife. Their river was turning into a toxic channel, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s an ironic story for a federal agency committed to protecting “human health and the environment.” Yet again, if you know anything about the EPA’s recent history, you might not be very surprised.

Government agents were investigating small toxic leaks at a mine near the Animas River when – oops! – they instead released a rush of waste water. The estimate is now up to 3 million gallons of water containing toxic chemicals and metals such as zinc, iron, and copper.

It slowly turned the river to sludge.

The Denver Post reported that “the blue waters turned a thick, radiant orange and yellow just after 8 p.m., nearly 34 hours after the spill started.”

You have to see it to believe it. These side-by-side shots show the contrast:

Before and After

An astute citizen captured the photo this way: “This is your Colorado River. This is your Colorado river on EPA. Any questions?”

When a private company caused an environmental disaster 5 years ago, the White House responded with threats of “ass kicking.” But when one of its own federal agencies causes a toxic spill, no criticism could be found from the Obama administration, even after the EPA initially tried to downplay the damage it had caused.

An “independent review” was announced 11 days after the spill and will be conducted by the Department of the Interior. But just how “independent” can one federal agency’s review of another be? The Department of Justice isn’t doing very well with the IRS last we looked.

The federal government is in the business of power, and they wield it largely through bureaucracies like the EPA and the IRS. These agencies don’t care about the people they purport to serve – as this incident clearly demonstrates, they would rather preserve their credibility (and thus their power), than truthfully seek to solve an environmental crisis.

Perhaps the EPA would better live up to its name by closing itself down. Colorado would sure rather be left alone.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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