Vail Daily letter: We depend on clean water
“Water, it has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined … not necessary to life, but rather life itself,” wrote Antonine de Saint-Exupéry from “Wind, Sand and Stars.” I attended Minturn Middle School when I was 12. Our sixth-grade science teacher taught us about the Eagle Mine and how the pollution affected the Eagle River. “The river was red,” he said, “and fish populations diminished.” The town of Gilman, that sat above the Eagle Mine, was ordered to evacuate by the EPA in 1984 due to high levels of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc that contaminated the ground water. The Environmental Protection Agency designated the mine as a Superfund site. A Superfund site is an EPA program to fund the cleanup of sites contaminated with pollutants hazardous to life. There are currently 1,322 Superfund sites nationwide, 24 in Colorado, and one here in Eagle County.
Clean water is an essential part of our everyday lives — we nourish ourselves, our children, our pets and our plants. We bathe ourselves, we swim, we play, we paddle and we fish. Beaver Creek uses Eagle River water to make snow that residents and guests alike ski and snowboard on. Our lives completely depend on water, but not just water — clean water. We cannot take clean water for granted — Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) recently introduced a bill, HR 861, “To Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.” To everyone living in or visiting Eagle County, and to Colorado and to the rest of the nation, I ask: what will happen to our clean water when the EPA is terminated? Personally, I don’t want to find out. I urge you to speak with your state and federal representatives to stop this bill.
My name is Benjamin Dale, I am an EMT at Eagle County Paramedic Services, and I am a former Minturn Middle School Patriot.