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Congress Votes To Expedite Gold King Mine Claims

Rita Daniels

Congress has passed a measure that will speed up the Environmental Protection Agency’s payouts to states recovering from pollution caused by the Gold King Mine Spill, as well as make the EPA address claims filed by local farmers.

Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich drafted the measure that extends the EPA’s timeframe for accepting damage claims from local and tribal governments and puts pressure on the EPA to resolve individuals’ claims. 

“There’s definitely a feeling in New Mexico that the EPA needs to receive and process the individual claims for farmers and local business who were harmed by the spill because they lost business or they lost crops,” said Jennifer Talhelm, a representative for Senator Udall's office. 

It’s been more than a  year since the EPA accidentally spilled 3 million gallons of wastewater in the San Juan and Animas Rivers. The agency announced last week that it’s giving $1.1 million to New Mexico state and local governments, but rejected around $200,000 in other requests. Individuals who were harmed still haven’t received any money.

The measure awaits President Obama’s approval.

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