Albuquerque, New Mexico 2021-01-13 15:12:19 –
The spill released 3 million gallons (11 million liters) of wastewater from an inactive Gold King mine in southwestern Colorado. A crew member hired by the US Environmental Protection Agency caused a spill when trying to drill an opening in a mine in preparation for possible cleanup.
Wastewater flowed into the Animas River and eventually into the San Juan River, causing a major reaction by government agencies, tribes and private sectors.
Water operators were forced to close the intake valves, and farmers stopped drawing from the river as the plume moved downstream.
The tribe said toxic water flowed 200 miles (322 kilometers) of river on Navajo’s land.
“The explosion of Gold King Mine has damaged the entire Navajo Nation community and ecosystem,” Navajo Nation President Jonathanness said in a statement announcing the settlement. “We have promised to hold the people who caused or contributed to the explosion accountable, and this reconciliation is just the beginning.”
The tribal claims to the EPA and its contractors remain unresolved. About 300 tribal members also have pending claims as part of another proceeding.
“It’s time for the United States to fulfill its promise to the Navajo and provide the relief needed for the suffering that has caused the Navajo and its people,” Nezu added.
The EPA under the Obama administration claimed that water quality soon returned to pre-spill levels.
However, New Mexico officials, tribal leaders, and others continued to warn that heavy metals would collect and stir in the sediments each time rain or snowmelt spilled.
New Mexico also confirmed that it had reached a settlement with a mining company on Wednesday. Under the agreement, $ 10 million was paid to New Mexico for environmental costs and lost tax revenues, and $ 1 million was sent to the Natural Resources Council for damage to New Mexico’s natural resources. I will.
In August, the U.S. government settled a proceeding filed by Utah on just a small portion of what Utah originally sought for damages.
In that case, the EPA agreed to fund a $ 3 million clean water project in Utah and spend $ 220 million to clean up abandoned mine in Colorado and Utah.
After the spill, the EPA designated Gold King and 47 other mining sites in the area as Super Fund Cleanup Districts. The agency is still considering a wider range of cleanup options.
(Copyright 2021 by Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Navajo Nation, New Mexico reach settlements over mine spill Source link Navajo Nation, New Mexico reach settlements over mine spill