I completely agree this is sensationalist crap at its best.
Is it a bad situation? you bet
But the truth of the matter is, this tunnel has been discharging "toxic" water for as long as its been there, and has been "plugged" by tunnel failure, not by the mighty BoR, but by pure happenstance. Its just the BoR that stepped in and built the treatment plant to lessen the impact of all the acid mine drainage.
I love how they are comparing this to Teton Dam, which was 300,000 acre-feet of water in a matter of minutes due to dam failure.
A quick, back of the envelope calc. shows that 1.5 billion gallons of water is just over 3,000 ac-ft, or roughly 1% of the volume of the Teton Dam failure. Not to mention that if the tunnel's blockage fails, it will likely still be very constricted by the tunnel itself, only letting a limited flow of water past, unlike a non-constricted dam failure...
Granted, the water might be nice and orange, killing most all aquatic life in its path.
I don't think this warrants a national response, just because there are 20-30 trailers right next to the outlet of this tunnel. News flash, that tunnel was there when they parked their homes there...
I don't like that this is going on, but the local government really ought to take more of the responsibility for this, and not push it off on us all.
What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook. HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Journal