Navajo President Ask EPA To Be Flexible On Claims From Gold King Mine Spill

Aug 11, 2017

An excavator works on digging through the toxic sludge that sits near Cement Creek and the water treatment plant for the Gold King Mine on Aug. 17, 2016 near Silverton.
Credit Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The head of the Navajo Nation is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be flexible on the type of documentation it requires from tribal members asking for compensation for damages from a mine spill.

Navajo President Russell Begaye said Wednesday not all members of the tribe kept receipts for the losses they suffered from the 2015 spill from the Gold King Mine in Colorado.

EPA officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The agency inadvertently triggered the spill, which tainted a river on Navajo land in New Mexico. Colorado and Utah rivers were also affected.

The EPA initially said federal law prevented it from paying damages claims. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said last week that some claims would be reconsidered but documentation would be required.