U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján issued the following statement after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy agreed, at their request, to travel to New Mexico and personally view the Gold King Mine spill, which has sent 3 million gallons of wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers.
“Today, EPA Administrator McCarthy confirmed to us that she will personally visit the spill that has contaminated the Animas River and threatens water used by Northern New Mexico and the Navajo Nation for drinking, agriculture and recreation. We believe it is critical that she see firsthand the extent of the damage and the need for substantial cleanup efforts. Just as important, we expect her to listen to local officials and residents in the area who still don’t have answers to when their water will be safe to drink, irrigate their crops and water their livestock. This crisis is taking a toll on these communities. We have asked for a detailed plan from EPA to address water shortages in San Juan County and the Navajo Nation as well as for resources to assist residents and local communities. While we have been in regular contact with EPA since Friday, we were disappointed by the lack of communication between the agency and the state and local governments immediately after the spill occurred. We hope Administrator McCarthy’s visit is a sign that the EPA is committed to helping the residents and communities in Northern New Mexico recover.”