Navajos Demand Justice After EPA Polluted Their Water

by Joseph Hammond, originally posted on December 29, 2016


Every time Anna Little takes her sheep to drink, she’s risking their health, thanks in no small part to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In the summer of 2015, EPA workers breached the abandoned Gold King Mine in Colorado, causing a massive blowout. The mine spewed 3 million gallons of wastewater, including roughly 880,000 pounds of lead, mercury, cadmium, copper, nickel and zinc, into the Animas River, and from there into the San Juan River.

The spill resulted in an 80-mile-long mustard-colored stretch of water that slowly snaked its way through the region’s waterways, which the Navajo and others rely on for agriculture and raising livestock.

The government of the Navajo Nation filed a claim against the federal government recently asking for $160 million, citing damages relating to the 2015 Gold King Mine disaster perpetrated by the very federal agency charged with keeping American Indian water safe from pollution.

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