Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 13, 2015

Dine' CARE calls for remediation of historic mine sites

Animas River with toxic spill from Gold King mine

Diné C.A.R.E. Calls for Remediation of Historic Mine Sites

By Dine' CARE
Colleen Cooley    
Carol Davis             

FARMINGTON, NM --Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment (Diné C.A.R.E.) applauds the Colorado and New Mexico Delegations for urging the federal government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to release plans for the cleanup and mitigation of the Gold King Mine incident, and long-term remediation of historic mining sites. On August 11th and 12th, the Delegations sent letters to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and President Obama expressing concern that the Gold King Mine is still leaking contaminated water and sediment into the Animas River.

“We are concerned by the ongoing pollution and threat posed by historic mining sites in the upper Animas watershed that have never been adequately remediated,” says Carol Davis, Diné C.A.R.E. Coordinator. “We echo the Colorado and New Mexico Delegations in asking for federal support for the reclamation of these ongoing sources of pollution.”
The Gold King Mine’s toxic release has flowed into the Animas and San Juan Rivers, impacting many communities in Southern Colorado, Northern New Mexico, and Southeastern Utah, including the Navajo Nation. Farmers, livestock, and many residents who live along the San Juan River have been heavily impacted by this toxic mine spill. Residents have been warned not to utilize the river for any domestic or livestock purposes. Pumping and irrigation pumps have been shut off, and there are still many unknowns to this devastating spill. Fortunately, some Diné communities including the Shiprock community are coming together to assist with delivering water and supplies for those in need, but more support is needed from the federal government.
“This tragedy underscores the danger posed to our communities when mining companies continue to walk away from mining operations without proper reclamation and remediation,” says Colleen Cooley of Diné C.A.R.E.  “All the mining companies that are currently operating and who have a stake in these abandoned mines should pay their fair share of cleanup costs.”
A copy of the letter to President Obama from the Colorado and New Mexico Delegations is available here, and the letter to the EPA is available here.

About Diné C.A.R.E.

Diné CARE is located on the Navajo Nation and is a non-profit organization that works with many Navajo communities affected by energy and environmental issues. Since the late 1980s, community people have stood up and demanded for environmental protection and sustainable development practices, bringing systemic changes in tribal politics and making the grassroots voices evident in the realm of energy development.

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