EPA Settles $1 Million Damage After Accidental Mine Spill
Apr 29, 2016 04:48 AM EDT
The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is compensating states, tribes and local governments of almost $1 million for their cost after the agency unintentionally released a spill from a Colorado mine. On Thursday, EPA said that the money has been paid to Colorado, its counties and towns and the Navajo and Southern Ute tribes.
According to abc News, a large portion of the money being paid is for the expense of their response to the spill in Gold King Mine. The agency stated it is seeing requests for another $570,000 in expenses from the direct aftereffects.
The agency released the totals after La Plata County, Colorado mentioned EPA refused a request for $2.4 million over ten years for expenses in the future. The agency said under an agreement that the county proposed EPA does not cover future expenses.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will continue conducting hearings until all queries are answered and payment are given to the nation, said Senator John McCain during the hearing.
On Wednesday, the head of the EPA's superfund program, Bill Murray informed the county officials that the agency will not shoulder anticipated costs. This made county officials upset to know that aside from not being paid, they just wasted their effort in writing a cooperative agreement, The Hill reported.
"The intent is not that this co-op agreement would cover future activities," Murray said. "For Superfund sites, we don't often have future costs included. The program is not designed to provide for a lot of what is in there."
Meanwhile on Friday at a congressional field hearing in Phoenix, Arizona, Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation claimed that EPA didn't fulfill its promise to pay for damages done to the lands Native Americans from the mine toxic wastes that spilled into Colorado waterways polluting the waters of the state, including New Mexico and Utah and the Navajo Nation land in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, as reported by CNSNews.com.
"EPA has not lived up to its word," Begaye said in a video posted on the Arizona Republic website. "It's been empty promise after empty promise. We've had numerous meetings where promises were made and none of it EPA has lived up to."
Because of EPA's deficiency of action and direct involvement, the U.S. Department of Justice should conduct a criminal investigation.