Cover photo from CNN
Somebody in the Obama Administration needs to retake some real world accountability training. Most places are not NASA where the real rocket scientists debrief after a mission and are welcome to yell at each other without recrimination. Their truly devastating mistakes have been few and far between, and mostly were the result of moving too fast, and officials ignoring advice of contractor engineers below the level of vice president.
Earlier this year, the same concept surfaced with the contaminated water spill from the Gold King Mine into the Animas River in Colorado. Sort of. No contractor’s reputation was on the line the way Morton Thiokol’s was the day Challenger blew up, but due to decision making by a government official chain, however, the decision to tamper with the plug on the mine without checking the water level inside of it was a call made by EPA officials that resulted in contamination of a large watershed in the western United States with heavy metals that in every way could have been avoided.
What has been the reaction of the Obama Administration at the Cabinet Level? Who has been put on the line for the mess? No one.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday she is unaware of anyone being fired, fined or even demoted for the Gold King Mine spill, prompting Republicans to accuse her of taking the EPA off the hook for the toxic blowout.
Republicans took Ms. Jewell to task for the Interior Department’s investigation into the Aug. 5 spill, saying the October report failed to hold anyone responsible for unleashing 3 million gallons of orange, toxic wastewater into the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado.
“You’re directly responsible for this report. The EPA had promised this committee a thorough investigation,” said Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican. “We have not gotten one. What we have gotten is a complete, deliberate whitewash.”
Mr. Lamborn asked if anyone had been fired or fined after the spill, to which she replied, “Not that I’m aware of.” Asked if she was aware of anyone being demoted, she referred the question to the EPA.
Asked if she had even yelled at anyone, Ms. Jewell responded, “No, I have not yelled at anybody over this.”
Ms. Jewell defended the Interior investigation, saying it was confined to a technical review of the incident to determine its cause, not to assign blame. The report concluded that the EPA team touched off the spill by removing debris without first testing the water level within the mine.
“I think if you review the technical report, it clearly identifies issues where there turned out to be an error in judgment on the part of EPA,” Ms. Jewell said. “That’s hardly not holding them accountable. It is in fact holding them accountable.”
Uh, not exactly. Identifying errors in judgement SHOULD result in actually firing, suspending or reprimanding someone or at the very least, yelling at them, but that hasn’t happened.
But Republicans said that excuse wouldn’t fly if a private company had been at fault for violating the Clean Water Act with the blowout, instead of the EPA.
“Yeah, it’s unintentional, but there are still consequences here,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican. “I hope you understand the frustration here. The bureaucracy does not take care of itself because it holds nobody accountable.”
Not to argue with Rep. Gosar, but the bureaucracy IS taking care of itself by covering for its weakest members. That’s fine when you are in a volunteer church choir, but not so much when clean drinking water in four states is on the line.
Rick Moran at American Thinker adds the Gold King Mine water spill to the list of events to which no one has been held accountable in the Obama Administration. The list is pretty damning, but, still, this is the American government. At this point, the figureheads may change, but not much else does. The Obama Administration has just been far more overt about sidestepping consequences.