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On August 5, 2015, contractors for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigating the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado accidently released some three million gallons of contaminated water into the Animas River, triggering weeks of front-page headlines, months of congressional hearings, and now years of litigation. River of Lost Souls: The Science, Politics, and Greed Behind the Gold King Mine Disaster, a new book by Jonathan P. Thompson, suggests by its title a human folly behind this “disaster” much broader and deeper than one tragic accident wrought by EPA contractors. On this thesis, Thompson certainly delivers. However, what we get from the book is both less and so much more. Less, because one can finish the book and walk away wondering who really is to blame for the Gold King Mine spill. So much more, because River of Lost Souls is not really the story of a spill, but the story of a place: the Four Corners country of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.

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Public Land & Resources Law Review





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