To Ben Carson, GOP: Stop Animas River Political Circus Now

(Perhaps he brought a shovel? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Sizable crowd for Ben Carson in Durango, as photographed just after 2PM today:


The factual basis may be lacking (see below), but you can’t deny it: Carson is grandstanding while the grandstanding is good. Will other Republicans don their Animas River hip waders, metaphorical and/or literal? We’ll be watching to see.


GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson.

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson.

As the grandstand against the Environmental Protection Agency over an accidental spill of contaminated mine wastewater into the Animas River nearly two weeks ago continued Tuesday with a visit to Durango by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on right-wing politicians to stop misusing this disaster to further their own political agendas.

“Ben Carson is just the latest and most obvious example of the right wing shamelessly politicizing the Animas River mine water spill,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Carson’s campaign trip to Durango is a distraction that the people working to clean up the Animas River spill, and to prevent future mine waste disasters, do not need. Carson is in Durango to grandstand and misrepresent the EPA’s work cleaning up not just Silverton’s polluting mines, but environmental disasters across the nation caused by irresponsible private industry.”

“When Congressman Scott Tipton was asked if he thought the investigation into the Gold King Mine spill was going to be an ‘exercise in congressional theatre and extended EPA-bashing,’ he said he didn’t think so,” said Ellen Stein of Durango. “Today’s visit to Durango by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson proves Tipton wrong. Carson has nothing to contribute to cleaning up the Animas River.”

“Since the mine water spill almost two weeks ago,” said Stein, “we’ve seen a steady stream of Republican politicians trying to use this event to score political points in their longstanding fight against the federal government on unrelated issues. Mr. Carson is no different. The EPA is taking responsibility for this spill, and the responsible parties will be held accountable. Here in Durango, we know the real problem is the privately-owned mines draining polluted water into our river. That’s the problem the EPA is working to solve and tens of thousands of people along the Animas River, and more further downstream, are counting on them. We need partners and problem solving, not litigation and grandstanding!”

“We need to get to the bottom of what happened, but we can’t allow the vital work the EPA is doing to protect us from Colorado’s legacy of mine pollution to be disrupted by politics,” said Runyon-Harms. “Yesterday, the EPA’s Inspector General announced an investigation into the cause of the Gold King Mine spill. Instead of playing politics and misusing this disaster to undermine the EPA on issues that have nothing to do with cleaning up polluted mines, we call on politicians visiting Durango to support the EPA’s vital work to protect everyone who depends on the Animas River.”

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Moddy's not going to like this. Drive-by slobbering in 3…2…1…

  2. FrankUnderwood says:

    Dr. Carson needs to get attention off the fetal tissue business before Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum hits him over the head with it again. What better way than to latch onto this…..

  3. mamajama55 says:

    Here's two analogies, about similar long-held toxic secrets that embarrassed many people and made them uncomfortable when all was revealed:

    In Ohio, Ariel Castro imprisoned three women in his house as sex slaves. One of them, Amanda Berry tried to escape, but couldn't get out the door, until neighbor Charles Ramsay heard her and broke the door down, with the help of another unnamed neighbor.

    So here's the question: Who was at fault for the imprisonment and exposure of the decades of abuse – Ariel Castro, or the neighbor who broke the door down?

    Here's another one:

    Who's the real traitor – Edward Snowden, who exposed massive surveillance overreach, and had to flee the country, or the NSA and other intelligence spooks who created the spying programs?


  4. Moderatus says:

    And what would the liberals at ProgressNow have to say if a private company had caused the spill? There would be no end to the politicization.

    Sorry libs, your precious government agency screwed up big, and it's a political issue. That is completely fair game. If you don't like it, tell the government to be more careful near our rivers.

    • Wong21fr says:

      Technically, a private company did cause the spill as the privately owned mines are the source of the leaking wastewater- the EPA just accelerated the spill.

      Did you see where the owner of the Gold King is putting the blame on the Canadian owned Sunnyside mine for not dewatering that particular mine and diverting the wastewater into the Gold King?  What's the GOP's position on that bit of private sector squabbling?

    • BlueCat says:

      Actually the amount of damaging pollution involved in the single EPA caused spill, for which the EPA is taking full responsibility, is dwarfed by the amounts leaking on a regular basis from all of Colorado's abandoned private company mines and represents a drop in the bucket compared to pollution leaking into waterways across the nation from an estimated 500,000 abandoned private company mines sites. Local politics prevent many of these sites, including this one, from being declared federal clean up sites and getting funding because of fear such a designation will interfere with tourism, river recreation etc.

      Yes, those pollutants are leaking into our waterways thanks to private companies and private and municipal interests all the time, just not usually in such a dramatic surge as the EPA spill.

      • Davie says:

        Of course you know Modster doesn't give a rat's ass about pollution (actually, if there's money to be made, the more pollution, the better!) unless by some stretch of the imagination it can be pinned on Obama.

        Pretty much his opinion about any bad thing that happens in the world.  If a Republican or a private business accidentally, on purpose, maliciously or incompetently, causes harm, then Mum's the word!  Just be sure to make a profit!

        Maybe the GOP should be called the Ferengi Party


  5. ElliotFladen says:

    Irony: ColoradoPols has a post condemning "shameless politicization" at same time it has a front page post of a bad football pass from Rubio.

    You can't really make this stuff up…

    • BlueCat says:

      Did you read the diary? It's simply making fun of Rubio's bad luck with this sort of thing. There is no "politicizing" involved. It's all over the media. You apparently are  pretty desperate to make something, anything up, perhaps to distract from the sorry state your pathetic party has sunk to. Particularly concerning the apparent competition in the silly immigration policy follies.

    • Samuel L. Clemens says:

      Expecting a rational entry from EF, AC, Mods, et al in reply to a fact-supported statement?



  6. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    For once, Amy Runyon Harms actually says something that makes sense ("Ben Carson is just the latest…….."). 

    I think Ellen Stein is a bit confused in trying to tie Scott Tipton into Carson's visit. Tipton was asked about "congressional theatre," whereas Dr. Caron has nothing to do with Congress and, in fact, is an unqualified candidate running for President.

    Mamajama: I don't agree that your two comparisons are "sick and inappropriate," as alleged by Moderatus. However, they have nothing to do with this thread on a toxic water spill.

    Regards, Conservative Head Banger   (AC/DC Rules !!)

    • mamajama55 says:

      CHB, it's a metaphor. I am an English teacher, after all, and I enjoy metaphors. Like the villain in a Stephen King novel who is the embodiment of all evil, sick and twisted human sins committed, the toxic heavy metal sludge that Gold King left came rushing out to terrorize and hurt the local populace once its poisonous secret was uncorked, or the door broken down, or the kid found the secret entrance to "It"s cave.

      I'm trying to also make the point that the whistleblower, the door-breaker, the EPA inspector who uncorks the sludge where it was ineptly (but cheaply!) dammed up by debris, is not the villain in the piece. The villain is the person who kept the secrets, imprisoned and raped the women, hid the sludge while it slowly leaked into the downstream water supply.

      If you don't care for metaphors, it's all good. I know you're not on the side of the polluters.

      • BlueCat says:

        I'm going to have to go somewhat with CHB here. I get what you were going for but it's a bit too much of a stretch to work well. The example about the captive struck women? Yuck!

        • mamajama55 says:

          Oh well. I'll try to keep my metaphors bottled up from now on, like an evil toxic sludge lurping around in the dark, waiting for an innocent but inept EPA drudge to uncork it, and then for a heroic governor with a ludicrous name to break the spell.

          I just think this is a graphic novel waiting to happen.

          • mamajama55 says:

            Seriously, though, and not to threadjack this any further because CHB does have a point – this is about environmental pollution. But the "hidden toxic sludge" metaphor is a valid metaphor for hiding sexual assault or other abuse. When it's made public, it's like dredging out the poison.  I read that from victims in the Cosby horror show. I've heard it from survivors. I'm an abuse survivor myself.

            And the person who tells the secret, who blows the whistle, who releases the toxins, is not the villain in the piece.

            So I'm not going to apologize for the metaphor, even if it grosses you out or makes you uncomfortable.

            Now back to your regularly scheduled environmental disaster.

  7. Diogenesdemar says:

    Jesus, things must be completely awful in Durango?  There's number of people there with time to listen to this fool!   Don't they know that 'Hick lurped from the river for them?

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