Yeah, it was bad and a major screw up, but everyone seems to forget that corporate miners left the poisonous tailings to be cleaned up by the taxpayers. This was even after they probably got all the gold out without paying royalties because of a federal mining law passed in 1872 by President Grant.
And a rancher, who is subsidized to graze on federal lands said in the Albuquerque Journal, when he brings his cows down from federal pastures he won't be able to let them drink down at the polluted river for a time. Science knows that letting cattle onto a river is an extremely polluting and debilitating practice for western riparian areas. And he was quoted as saying if a private person had screwed up the river that they would be sentenced to ten years in jail. Has anyone ever been sent to jail for such things....not in my memory. Not ever.
So the resource extraction industries on federal lands continually screw the taxpayer, and then they blame all the problems on the people who try to clean up their disastrous policies. It is just too much.