Luján Participates In Gold King Mine Spill Hearing

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District participated in a hearing in the Housr Natural Resources Committee on the Department of Interior’s report on the Gold King Mine spill. 
Luján highlighted the importance of ensuring that all those who were impacted by the spill are made whole and the need to take steps to improve the notification process in case of future disasters.
“One of the other failures that took place was after the spill took place. There was no notification to downstream impacted communities, and we have to work to make sure that whatever rules are preventing us from notifying individuals on their mobile phones, on their home phones, businesses – that we need to be able to communicate and make them aware,” Luján said during the hearing. “This also needs to be rectified for every federal agency across the government in the United States so that if there is ever an incident like this that everyone that needs to be notified is notified, as opposed to depending on neighbors.”
Luján stressed the need for independence in the review process and a collaborative recovery effort that includes state, local, and tribal governments that were impacted by the spill.
“There’s been a lot of conversations about the independent investigations, and Madam Secretary, I think it’s critically important that there truly be an independent look at this with participation and leads from the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, the tribal leaders from Southern Ute, Ute Mountain, and Navajo that are all a part of this,” Luján said. “It has to be done where EPA is a part of that but not necessarily the lead, where everyone is collaborating, looking in to what needs to be done and how we get that done.”
Luján also highlighted legislation that he has introduced in the House, the Gold King Mine Spill Recovery Act, which would ensure expeditious compensation for losses incurred as a result of the spill. 
Additionally, the legislation requires EPA work with affected States and Indian tribes to develop, fund and implement long-term monitoring of the impacted rivers. 
To ensure that such an accident does not happen again, the legislation requires EPA and other relevant Federal agencies identify the most dangerous known abandoned mines and establish a priority plan for remediating them. 
Luján is also a cosponsor of the Hardrock Reform and Reclamation Act that establishes a royalty on hardrock minerals extracted from public land and requires the hardrock mining industry to pay into a fund designed to remediate abandoned hardrock mines.