WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Rep. Steve Pearce introduced H.R. 4735, the Gold King Mine Spill Accountability Act of 2018, to provide compensation to those injured by the Gold King Mine spill and to provide funds for New Mexico’s long-term water quality monitoring program.
“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was responsible for allowing millions of gallons of contaminated waste water to spill into the Animas and San Juan Rivers in New Mexico. This put the health and livelihoods of farmers, ranchers, tribes, and businesses who depend on the water from these rivers at risk, and no one has been held responsible for the damage caused by the spill.
This bill will ensure that New Mexicans affected by this spill will be rightfully compensated by setting up an office to process and better address the claims related to the spill. It will also mandate the EPA to fund a long-term water monitoring program developed by New Mexico to provide proof to the communities that the water is clean and safe following the spill. Lastly, this bill prohibits rulemaking by the EPA until all claims are processed. This recovery process has gone on way too long, and the people of New Mexico deserve certainty. A good government must be held accountable to its citizens, and this bill takes an important and necessary step forward to ensure those who were wronged are made whole,” stated Rep. Pearce.
In August 2015, the EPA cleanup crew, under instruction from supervision, opened the mine and dumped three million gallons of contaminated wastewater containing heavy metals at the Gold King mine in Colorado. Dangerous contaminants including arsenic and lead fouled rivers in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Shortly after the spill, the EPA attempted to claim that water quality had returned to conditions prior to the event, but a scientific team found evidence that contradicted the EPA’s position.