Congressman Ben Ray Luján Responds to the Waste Spill on the Animas River

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District has issued the following statement regarding the waste spill on the Animas River following an emergency meeting held in Farmington yesterday afternoon:

animas-river_1438882581336_22378412_ver1.0_640_480“I [have] participated in a community meeting in Farmington with federal, state, and local officials regarding the mine spill. The meeting made it clear that there must be better communication from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many in the impacted communities continue to have serious questions that have yet to be answered. It is essential that lab results regarding the metals in the river are disclosed as soon as possible. In addition, steps must be taken immediately to initiate a plan that provides water to those whose wells have been affected, farmers whose crops are not being irrigated, ranchers whose livestock are without water, and people for drinking, cooking, and showering.”

“I have conveyed these serious concerns to EPA’s regional administrators and requested a toll free number for New Mexico residents to get answers to their questions. I will continue to push EPA to move quickly to help San Juan County and the Navajo Nation in the days to come, and will engage the agency to make sure there is accountability for the long-term effects, including the economic impact, of this spill. The EPA caused this mess and they must take full responsibility to clean it and make whole the people who have been impacted.”

Earlier yesterday Congressman Lujan released the following statement today on the recent spill of mine waste that has reached the Animas River.

“The Animas River is a vital source of water to communities in San Juan County and the Navajo Nation, and this spill that has released heavy metals into the water is of great concern.  The EPA must act swiftly and thoroughly to mitigate the effects of this spill.  I am closely monitoring the situation and my office has been in close contact with EPA to see that the appropriate steps are being taken to protect the health and safety of impacted communities.  It is essential that there is a full accounting of the causes of the accident.  We must know who bears responsibility for this spill and see that steps are taken to ensure accountability, especially for the costs of fixing this and making those impacted whole.”