U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner sent a formal invitation, and we hope it’s engraved, to new EPA Chief Pruitt inviting him to visit southwest Colorado and hold public meetings with residents to hear directly how that agency’s mine spill has affected lives.
Pruitt made a commitment during his confirmation hearings to compensate those affected by the spill in 2015, which sent three million gallons of toxic waste through Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, crossing two reservations of the Southern Utes and Navajos.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated that the EPA took full responsibility for the disaster, but refused to fully reimburse the affected states, local and tribal governments for response costs, which is contrary to Section 5004 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act passed last Congress.
In January, the EPA also denied the 73 personal injury and economic and business loss claims filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act regarding the spill.
We share the goal of making communities whole from this EPA-born spill. I believe you visiting Southwest Colorado and the EPA conducting a public forum would serve as a great opportunity to hear from these communities directly.
We join Gardner in keeping up the pressure on the EPA to fix those wrongs and fully compensate those affected.