Was EPA Forthcoming with Mine Spill Water Data? Depends Whom You Ask

September 23, 2015

Access to water quality data was an issue at one highly politicized House hearing on the August 5, 2015, toxic spill from a long-abandoned mine near Silverton, Colorado.

New Mexico Secretary of Environment Ryan Flynn accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of refusing for weeks to share data on the quality of waters fouled by the spill. An EPA spokesperson said the agency made the data available on its website as soon as it was validated.

The contretemps came at a September 17 hearing before a GOP-controlled House Oversight subcommittee.

In his story on the hearing for the Associated Press, Matthew Brown wrote that Flynn's criticisms "offered more fodder for congressional Republicans eager to find fault with a federal agency they perceive as having an anti-business agenda."

According to the Santa Fe Reporter, "Flynn has been closely involved in development of the state’s newly proposed copper rule." Environmental groups have opposed that rule, saying that it violated the state's water quality law.

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