The sculpin standard |

The sculpin standard

Don Rogers

Viacom’s attorney for dealing with the Eagle River cleanup has a point. The river has come a long ways since it flowed orange and nothing at all lived in it for miles and miles below the Eagle Mine.Hank Ipson aims to make his case for Viacom leaving the cleanup at pretty good. All this argument about appropriate standards, all these agendas. “You can always find an expert to find a problem,” he says.We’re no experts, of course, although Lord knows we talk to enough of them.But here’s a standard for how much zinc should be left in the Eagle River that is pinpoint accurate and hardly requires fancy instruments or experts to argue over it all: The sculpin standard.Once the native fish returns to this part of the Eagle River, call the cleanup good. The sculpin is nature’s expert in this matter, although it might be a little difficult to get this witness on the stand at the upcoming court hearing Dec. 12 reviewing the Superfund case.Nice that the river is cleaner. But plainly the job isn’t done until the fish that belongs there can actually survive there.It’s a hard to see how the EPA can tout the Eagle Mine cleanup as one of its great successes when native fish come no closer than a dozen miles downstream.Call this one the clear agenda. You know, where you keep working until the job is actually done. This shouldn’t need an expert to explain. Only to dissemble.Vail, Colorado

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