Animus River was contaminated on August 5, 2015 and flowed into San Juan River on Navajo Nation
Published August 16, 2016
SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO – Navajo Nation’s President Russell Begaye, along with Vice President Jonathan Nez, Attorney General Ethel Branch and Delegate Tom Chee announced the Navajo Nation is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at a press conference in Shiprock, New Mexico.
San Juan River polluted as result of Gold King Mine; Navajo Nation not happy with EPA’s lack of response.
The lawsuit is the result of environmental disaster of the spill that occured last August at the Gold King Mine. The lawsuit alleges that the EPA “recklessly” burrowed into the Gold King Mine, which resulted in waste beging released into the Animus River that made its way into the San Juan River that goes through the Navajo Reservation.
President Begaye says the Navajo people have yet to be compensated for the expenses incurred and loss of revenue suffered by Navajo farmers.
“One of the Navajo people’s most important sources of water for life and livelihood was poisoned with some of the worst contaminants known to man, including lead and arsenic,” Navajo Nation said in the 48-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico.
“Efforts to be made whole over the past year have been met with resistance, delays, and second-guessing,” the court filing states. The EPA “ignored warning signs for years,” the lawsuit alleges.
Besides the EPA, the Navajo Nation is suing EPA contractor Environmental Restoration, the Kinross Gold Corp and Sunnyside Gold Corp.