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Kirkpatrick Blasts EPA for Mine Spill
FLAGSTAFF – U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., issued the following statement about the Navajo Nation’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for negligence related to the disastrous Gold King Mine spill in August 2015.
“I am proud to represent the Navajo Nation in Congress, and I stand firmly with them in this lawsuit against the EPA. The Gold King Mine spill was catastrophic for the Navajo people. Not only was it an environmental and economic disaster, it was a failure by the EPA on several fronts. First, the agency failed to respond swiftly and transparently. It failed to immediately engage the tribal government. And it failed to fully address the disaster’s short- and long-term burdens on the tribe.
“Arizona and the Navajo Nation have historically challenging relationships with the EPA. In my view, the agency often demonstrates a lack of understanding of our Western issues, particularly with land, energy and natural resources. Water is life for the Navajo people – families and communities that depend on the San Juan River lost crops and livestock and faced the burden of water sampling and monitoring to protect the public health. The federal government has historic obligations and responsibilities to protect tribal land and natural resources. And until the EPA is held responsible for expenses and cleanup of this disaster as well as the long-term harm it caused, that obligation remains unmet.”
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