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McCain Calls For Criminal Investigation Into EPA’s Gold King Response

McCain Calls For Criminal Investigation Into EPA’s Gold King Response
April 25
15:08 2016

Last Friday, a Senate Committee began the process of looking into the U.S Environmental Protection Agency for its handling of the Gold King Mine Spill.

Gold King is an abandoned mine near Durango, Colorado. Last summer, the EPA was developing a plan to clean up the incessant toxic leakage from the mine and others in the surrounding area when a blowout occurred, sending 3 million gallons of toxic waste water into the Animas River. T

he blowout occurred when an earth plug holding back the stagnant water was dug into by contractors under the supervision of the EPA. A water-pressure test, which could have warned of a potential blowout, was not conducted prior to the digging.

Arizona Senator John McCain was among those in attendance and the Senator called for a criminal investigation of the EPA. McCain said that the agency bungled the investigation and the Navajo people deserve answers.

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, who is challenging McCain for his Senate seat, recently introduced a bill to ensure that those affected by the spill get adequate reimbursement. She called the EPA’s lack of follow through with farmer compensation and continuing assurances of clean water “outrageous” and asked for the agency’s support on her bill.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said the worrying of his people has not stopped. Begaye said that Navajo farmers are nervous that the snow-melt in the spring will stir up heavy metals, which were deposited in the riverbed by the torrent of waste water, and once again the water supply will be threatened.

Begaye continued, saying that the EPA has not reimbursed the tribe for its lost crops and that mine waste runoff continues to flow into the river system unabated.

EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, who was at the hearing in place of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, defended the EPA’s Gold King response saying that his administration has spent $22 million on the disaster, with $1.1 million allocated specifically for agricultural aid. Stanislaus, when asked by McCain if he would recommend a criminal investigation into the EPA, unsurprisingly said he would not.

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