February 7, 2023
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Mine mishap shows EPA stewardship inadequate


Just when you think environmental stewardship can’t get any worse … it gets worse.

About three months ago, the Central Coast witnessed its worst environmental disaster in decades when Plains All American Pipeline leaked more than 140,000 gallons of oil onto the Refugio Beach area.

About a fourth of that ended up in the ocean, raising all kinds of questions about stewardship and calls for more government oversight.

Well, it turns out that government overseers aren’t all that great either. In a show of incompetence that might have brought a wry smile to the face of Jon Stewart, the EPA itself is responsible for a massive leak that turned the Animus River in Colorado a sickening orange and threatens water supplies downstream.

What’s worse, the EPA estimate of a million gallons discharged at the Gold King Mine cleanup site near Durango was laughably off the mark, forcing  shame-faced bureaucrats to admit that three million gallons of contaminated water were released.

Although it appears a private contractor was involved in the mishap, there’s a rising call for EPA accountability for the mine disaster and we agree. It doesn’t matter whether the incompetence comes from the private sector or the public sector.

As a news organization that’s witnessed the toll that an environmental mishap takes on a community, we are sympathetic with the plight of small businesses and towns in New Mexico and Colorado that are bearing the brunt of the EPA’s incompetence.

New airport terminal for SLO

San Luis Obispo County’s board of supervisors has stepped up and committed the county to finding funds necessary to build a new airport terminal.

That’s an important first step in expanding air service to the Central Coast and SLO will now join Santa Barbara and Santa Maria in making big improvements to air service infrastructure.

What’s needed now is a few new flights to better connect our businesses to large cities up and down the coast and inland.

It will be a long, tough battle to get better service but getting facilities up to snuff is vitally important for the long term.

As members of the SLO Economic Vitality Corp., we’re pleased with the role that EVC played in facilitating this important measure.

In memoriam

Finally, we’ll offer condolences to our friends at DesignArc and to the family of Bruce Bartlett, a noted architect who passed away in early August after a brave battle against cancer.

He left his imprint on may buildings, including several at his alma mater, Cal Poly, the Olympic village at UC Santa Barbara built for the 1980 games, senior housing in Thousand Oaks and mixed-use landmarks in Montecito and downtown Santa Barbara.

The region is richer for his efforts and poorer for his passing.