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Governor Martinez Declares State Of Emergency For River Spill

GoldKing_EPAviaWikimedia.jpg
Environmental Protection Agency
The entrance to the Gold King mine on August 8, 2015 after approximately 3 million gallons of contaminated water flowed out into a tributary of the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has declared an emergency that frees up state funds to address a massive spill of wastewater from a Colorado mine into the Animas and San Juan rivers.

Federal officials say more than 3 million gallons of water tainted with lead, arsenic and other heavy metals contaminated the rivers following last week's spill.

Martinez on Monday said she was heartbroken and called it an environmental catastrophe.

She joined other officials in criticizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its lack of communication and transparency after a cleanup crew supervised by the EPA accidentally breached a debris dam at the old mine in southwest Colorado on Wednesday.

Under the governor's order, $750,000 in state funds will be available for well testing, long-term studies and other efforts.

The amount is in addition to $500,000 in emergency funds the New Mexico Environment Department requested and received Friday.

KUNM's Rita Daniels is covering the spill's impact in Farmington. She spoke with All Things Considered Host Chris Boros.