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Begaye’s statement on the Interior’s report blaming EPA for mine spill

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – President Russell Begaye released the following statement on the United States Department of Interior report on the Gold King Mine Spill Oct. 22. According to the Associated Press, which received an advanced copy of the report prior to its public release, the Interior Department found that “an EPA cleanup crew rushed its work and failed to consider the complex engineering involved” and triggered “the very blowout it hoped to avoid.” The Interior report directly refutes the EPA’s assertion that the blowout was “likely inevitable.”

“We applaud the Department of Interior for thoroughly investigating the Gold King Mine Spill and refuting the Environmental Protection Agency’s flawed contention that the blowout was inevitable. This report exposes the EPA’s gross negligence that triggered a disaster that has culturally and economically devastated the Navajo Nation.

“The Department of the Interior’s report calls into question the competency of the EPA and demonstrates why this embattled bureaucracy is the wrong federal agency to manage the response to the crisis it created. It’s time for President Obama to respond to bipartisan calls to issue an emergency declaration and instruct all federal agencies to assist the Navajo Nation instead of sending our requests back to the EPA.”