FARMINGTON, N.M. (Aug. 16, 2016) -- U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement expressing his concerns with delays in compensation to the people of the Navajo Nation for costs and damages caused by the Gold King Mine spill:
"For far too long, Indian Country has been left to fend for itself in dealing with the legacy of hardrock mining. The people of the Navajo Nation live among abandoned mining and milling sites that contaminate their water, air, and food. It's been over a year and families are still feeling the economic impacts and health uncertainties of the Gold King Mine spill. The pace of reimbursement to those impacted by this terrible incident is unacceptable. The EPA must fully compensate victims of the spill for their losses and provide a better process for filing claims.
"The Gold King spill was not the first or the worst major mining spill to affect the Navajo Nation. Which is why we must also take action to reform outdated policy to clean up the hundreds of thousands of similarly contaminated mines across the West and Indian Country that are leaking toxins into our watersheds. We shouldn’t wait for more disasters to strike. Western communities, including the Navajo Nation, deserve full and complete protection of their water, land, and livelihoods. Our nation owes it to these communities to clean up these sites once and for all."