Animas River Kayaks


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 Six days before 3 million gallons of toxic waste poured into Colorado’s Cement Creek and Animas River on August 5, a retired geologist predicted that the EPA operation to plug the Red and Bonita mines that caused the spill would fail.

The Silverton Standard published this letter to the editor from Dave Taylor of Farmington, New Mexico, who says he has “47 years of experience” as a professional geologist:

I came to Silverton this summer to enjoy my retirement, appreciate nature and prospect the mountains animas-river-kayaks featurefor unique minerals. I came here to enjoy a simple life with no TV and no politics, but unfortunately, that has changed. Your EPA dilemma has caused my blood to boil.

Based on my 47 years experience as a professional geologist, it appears to me that the EPA is setting your town and the area up for a possible Superfund blitzkrieg.

In regards to your meeting with the EP on June 23, Mr. Hestmark’s (EPA representative) statement “we don’t have an agenda” is either ignorant naivety or an outright falsehood. I am certain Mr. Hestmark’s hyrdologists have advised him what’s going to happen when the Red & Bonita portals [are] plugged and the “grand experiment” begins with unknown and foreseeable results and possible negative consequences.

Here’s the scenario that will occur based on my experience:

Following the plugging, the exfiltrating water will be retained behind the bulkheads, accumulating at a rate of approximately 500 gallons per minute. As the water backs up, it will begin filling all connected mine workings and bedrock voids and fractures. As the water level inside the workings continue to rise, it will accumulate head pressure at a rate of 1 PSI per each 2.31 feet of vertical rise.

As the water continues to migrate through and fill interinterconnected workings, the pressure will increase. Eventually, without a doubt. The water will find a way out and will exfiltrate uncontrollably through connected abandoned shafts, drifts, raises, fractures, and possibly from talus on the hillsides. Initially it will appear that the miracle fix is working.


But make no mistake, within seven to 120 days all of the 500 gpm flow will return to Cement Creek. Contamination may actually increase due to disturbance and flushing action within the workings.

The “grand experiment” in my opinion will fail. And guess what Mr. Hestmark will say then?

Gee, ‘Plan A’ didn’t work so I guess we will have to build a treatment plant at a cost to taxpayers of $100 million to $500 million (who knows).

Reading between the lines, I believe that has been EPA’s plan all along. The proposed Red & Bonita plugging plan has been their way of getting a foot in the door to justify their hidden agenda for construction of a treatment plant.

After all, with a budget of $8.2 billion and 17,000 employees, the EPA needs new, big projects to feed the best and justify their existence.

I would recommend that anyone who owns a home, property water well or srping in the Cement Creek drainage take water samples ASAP to protect themselves from groundwater changes that may be caused by the EPA plugging operation.

God bless America, God bless Silverton, Colorado, and God protect us from the EPA.

Martin Hestmark, to whom Taylor refers in the letter, is the Assistant Regional Administrator for Ecosystems Protection and Remediation in EPA’s Region 8. As John Hinderaker reported in Powerline, Hestmark’s boss, EPA Regional Administrator, Sean McGrath, is an Obama political operative.

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