Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe has issued a statement in support of the Navajo Nation, and President Russell Begaye’s demand that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials be held fully and legally responsible to their own stringent legal environmental standards.
“This spill is a gross violation of the Federal Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, and the EPA’s recently announced and controversial Waters of the U.S. rulemaking. This tragedy once again highlights the need for the states, and not the Federal government, to have full and complete control and autonomy over the environmental policies and practices within their borders. EPA officials must be held fully and legally responsible to their own stringent legal environmental standards. To this end, I stand with the Navajo people and with their President, Russell Begaye,” said Thorpe in the statement released today.
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Rep. Thorpe continued, “This massive toxic spill negatively impacts the Navajo Nation, their natural resources, their economy and their important ranching and farming industries. The economies and health of the Navajo people, and that of the citizens of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, California and Nevada and even the Nation of Mexico, are negatively impacted by this toxic spill. I have already contacted the Arizona Attorney General’s office and am actively reaching out to President Begaye’s office, and elected officials within Colorado and New Mexico. All the impacted states need to join with the Navajo Nation in suing the EPA for all financial damages, based upon the EPA’s same punitive environmental penalties that they apply to governments, industry and individuals. We must ensure that the Federal government and its employees are held legally and fully responsible for providing complete financial restitution, emergency clean drinking water, ongoing water testing and health monitoring, and complete and comprehensive cleanup and remediation of this multi-state spill, which could take decades to complete. The Federal government must also provide the states with documented safeguards for ensuring that they do not cause these types of toxic spills again in the future.”
On August 5th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) caused a 3 million gallon toxic waste water spill near Silverton, CO, which is still leaking at a rate of 720,000 gallons per day from the Gold King Mine that was closed in 1929. The dangerous toxic plume, which is traveling at 4 miles per hour, has migrated into Colorado waterways and has now also entered the navigable waters of the San Juan and Colorado Rivers, polluting Colorado, New Mexico and the vast Navajo Nation, which is approximately the size of West Virginia and larger than 10 – U.S. states.
The mustard-colored toxic sludge should enter Arizona and Utah’s shared Lake Powell on about August 12th, which is a critical natural resource for water storage, hydroelectricity, and a prized sportsman and recreational area. Next, the toxic sludge will flow through the Grand Canyon National Park, into Lake Mead and onward to the Pacific Ocean. EPA testing data released on August 9th from the Animas River near Durango, CO reported 300 times the normal arsenic levels and 3,500 times the normal lead levels. Arsenic and lead pose significant health dangers to humans, wildlife, ecosystems and natural habitats including threatened and endangered species, whose protection by the Federal government are mandated by the Federal Endangered Species Act.
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