- Lawmakers Call for Point Person to Oversee Agency’s Response
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter today to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján expressed their concern with the EPA’s response to the Gold King Mine spill that has sent three million gallons of wastewater into the Animas River.
In the letter, the lawmakers called on EPA to improve communication with federal, state, and local officials and with members of the public, urging the agency to appoint one point person to oversee the response efforts that span three EPA regions.
“In an effort to improve communication and coordination, we believe that EPA should establish a single point person to oversee the agency’s efforts,” the members of the New Mexico delegation wrote. “With the spill impacting three EPA regions, it is critical that all regions are working collaboratively. We are concerned that data that has been released by Region 8 was slow to be shared with the State of New Mexico. One person overseeing EPA’s efforts will help ensure proper communication and collaboration between the regions and between EPA and the public.”
The letter also included a request for a comprehensive plan from EPA to address the lack of water for communities in San Juan County and the Navajo Nation, and called on the agency to provide impacted states with all of the resources at its disposal.
“Since learning of the spill, our offices have been in constant communications with EPA, however, we have yet to be presented with a comprehensive plan from the agency to provide water to those whose wells have been affected, farmers whose crops are not being irrigated, ranchers whose livestock are without water, and people for drinking, cooking, and showering,” the letter stated. “Already, a lack of water is taking a toll on these individuals and their livelihoods. We request a detailed plan from EPA to address this lack of water in San Juan County and the Navajo Nation.”
The full text of the letter is available HERE.