The Stream, October 14: U.S. Decides Against Criminal Charges For Gold King Mine Spill

The Global Rundown

An employee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not be charged criminally for a spill of contaminated water from Colorado’s Gold King mine site. Residents of informal settlements in Pakistan are deciding to build sewage systems themselves rather than wait for government assistance. Johannesburg, South Africa is implementing more severe water restrictions amid an ongoing drought. A peoples’ tribunal will be held in The Hague this weekend to address the risks to human health and the environment posed by Monsanto, a multinational agricultural company. Hurricane Matthew will likely cost insurers less than $10 billion in the United States and Caribbean, according to industry estimates.

“We are fed up with stench of wastewater and frequent mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever. So, we have decided to lay a sewerage pipeline in our street on a self-help basis.” –Sultana Javed, a resident of the Orangi Town slum in Karachi, Pakistan, on her neighborhood’s effort to install sewage systems without government assistance. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

30 percent of capacity Water levels in South Africa’s Vaal Dam, where officials warn a reduction to 20 percent would endanger water supplies for Johannesburg. As a result, the city is implementing a 15 percent cut in water usage. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

Industry estimates predict insurance companies may need to pay out up to $8.8 billion in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which caused flooding and destruction in the Caribbean and the southeastern United States over the past week. The losses are much smaller than earlier estimates, and are much less costly than those caused by storms such as Hurricane Katrina. Bloomberg

On The Radar

A peoples’ tribunal will be held in The Hague over the weekend to assess claims of environmental and human health violations by the Monsanto agriculture company. The company has called the tribunal a “mock trial” and will not take part, and the outcome will not be enforceable by international law. Guardian

Federal prosecutors in the United States announced they will not pursue criminal charges against an employee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a spill of contaminated water from the Gold King mine in Colorado last year. The spill occurred during a cleanup of the abandoned mine site, releasing more than 11 million liters of waste into the Animas River. Reuters