Jordan Candler / August 17, 2016

Navajo Nation Seeks EPA Restitution

The indigenous enclave has had enough of the EPA’s underwhelming response.

Of all the suffering that originated with the EPA-caused Gold King Mine debacle, perhaps none have had a worse time of it than the Navajo Nation, a quarter-million-strong indigenous enclave that encompasses parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. It was a year ago, August 2015, when tainted water began wreaking socioeconomic havoc, beginning in Colorado followed by other states downstream. Reuters says, “The EPA has said it takes responsibility for the cleanup and that it has made more than $29 million available in response, including more than $1 million to Navajo Nation.” In any case, the Navajo — evidently feeling slighted — announced this week they are taking the EPA to court over its underwhelming response to the situation. It’s the third legal challenge against agency since the breach.

The lawsuit states, “Despite repeatedly conceding responsibility for the action that caused millions of dollars of harm to the Nation and the Navajo people, the U.S. EPA has yet to provide any meaningful recovery. Efforts to be made whole over the past year have been met with resistance, delays, and second-guessing.” Meanwhile, despite the EPA’s inability to keep our waters clean — and let’s not forget the government’s fingerprint in Flint, Michigan — the agency is pushing ahead with rigorous climate regulations. Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported, “Big rigs and other heavy vehicles will have to cut their carbon emissions and fuel consumption 25 percent from current models under new rules announced Tuesday by the Obama administration.” No doubt the Navajo Nation wishes the EPA would expend as much energy toward rectifying the mine spill.

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