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Navajo Nation Seeks $160 Million for Spill

Navajo Nation Seeks $160 Million for Spill
December 06
13:47 2016

Make it another $160 million.

The Navajo Nation issued a press release Monday saying the Nation was filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Government for damages and ongoing injuries caused by the Gold King Mine Spill.

The spill occurred in August of 2015, sending a torrent of toxic waste water into the Animas River. An Environmental Protection Agency team was working on treating contaminated waste water within the Gold King Mine, a mine that had not been in use since 1923. The crew from the EPA was hoping to install a drainage pipe but did not realize how much water was stored in the dam. Once heavy machinery started drilling into the earthen dam, the soil gave way and sent a deluge of water contaminated with toxins and heavy metals into Cement Creek. Cement Creek feeds into the Animas River, which flows into the San Juan River, which flows into Lake Powell.

The filing claimed that the Gold King Mine spill negatively impacted the communities along the San Juan River. The lawsuit is aimed at the EPA, which had claimed responsibility.

The Navajo Nation is seeking $159 million in damages to go along with around $3.2 million to cover expenses for the tribe that the EPA has yet to reimburse.

This newest filing comes just four months after the Navajo Nation filed a separate suit against the EPA in August. Also in August, the EPA said it had committed more than $29 million to help safeguard the public and environment after the spill.

With the money the Nation would receive from the claim it would look to secure alternative water supply reservoirs and modify a water-treatment plant.

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