The state’s top environmental regulator testified at a joint congressional hearing recently, criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency for withholding information about the Gold King Mine spill.
The New Mexico State Environment Department says initially, when 3 million gallons of mine waste spilled into the Animas River this past August, the EPA withheld the raw contamination data from them.
“We, the State of New Mexico, we were operating in a vacuum. There was no information being shared with us in order to make emergency response plan decisions and manage the situation.”
Allison Majure is a spokesperson for the department. She said Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn testified in front of the committees in order to clarify some facts - like how the EPA misrepresented information about cadmium, lead and arsenic in order to skirt safe drinking water standards.
Majure says the team put together by the governor to address people’s long-term concerns about the spill will be having their first meeting in October.
The EPA says they will continue to sample sediment, water and wildlife along the spill’s route over the next year.