U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have joined with a bipartisan group of senators, including Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to examine a critical set of questions regarding the Gold King Mine spill that occurred in the Animas River earlier this month.
“The release of contaminated water from this legacy mine has polluted the Animas River in Colorado and spread through New Mexico, Utah, the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, and the Navajo Nation,” the senators wrote in a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins. “Although the EPA has taken responsibility for this disaster, the OIG investigation and report will assist in determining the details of the accident, provide a better opportunity to improve future remediation projects, and prevent spills of this nature at other legacy mines across the West.”
The senators asked that the investigation specifically address 13 points, including whether the delay in providing information to local agencies created any health risk and what additional policies should be in place to safeguard against future spills during remediation projects at abandoned mine sites across the West.
“Including these questions in an OIG report, along with a full investigation of the Gold King Mine accident, will help prevent future spills of this magnitude and ensure that recovery for tribal, state and local economies is expeditiously put on the best path forward.”
The full text of the letter is available HERE