Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hold hearing on EPA mine spill

The spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine caused about 3 million gallons of toxic waste to enter the river system in Colorado and New Mexico. Photo from Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye / Facebook

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Gold King Mine spill next month.

A contractor hired by the Environmental Protection Agency, caused about 3 million gallons of mine waste to enter the Animas River in Colorado and the San Juan River. The Southern Ute Tribe and the Navajo Nation are still addressing the effects of the August 5 disaster.

“The EPA must be held accountable for the release of contaminated and toxic waste water into the Animas River in Colorado and the San Juan River in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the chairman of the committee, said in a press release. “Tribes use the waters from these rivers and this hearing will be a good chance to hear firsthand how this disaster is impacting them. The EPA needs to work with these tribes to ensure the mess is cleaned up, the sovereignty of the tribes is respected, and that the concerns of the tribes are acted on.”

“Water is our most valuable resource and we must do everything we can to protect it for future generations,” added Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) , the vice chairman. “I hope this hearing will help bring about solutions so we can clean up the land and water for Navajo Nation and all the folks impacted by this disaster.”

The hearing will take place in Washington, D.C, on September 16.

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