Colorado and New Mexico lawmakers sent President Barack Obama a letter Wednesday urging him to direct federal resources toward addressing the Gold King Mine spill that unleashed 3 million gallons of contaminated mine sludge into the Animas River last week.
The letter was sent by Colorado’s U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner; U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton; New Mexico’s U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich; and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
They asked Obama to focus “all appropriate federal resources on the tragic Gold King Mine spill that occurred last week in Southwest Colorado.”
White House spokesperson Hallie Ruvin declined to comment on the record on Wednesday.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper said he had not yet read the senators’ letter.
He said he spoken with the White House about the mine spillage “right when it was first happening, but not since the level of environmental damage” turned out “not to be anywhere near what people first thought.”
The lawmakers’ letter to Obama says: “The release of approximately 3 million gallons of contaminated water into the Animas River has polluted the river through Southwest Colorado, the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation. This is truly a national disaster that requires the attention, coordinated efforts, and resources of multiple federal agencies.”
The congressmen – Republicans and Democrats – say the Animas River and San Juan River “are critical to our states’ economies and way of life. Communities in all of the affected states, the Navajo Nation, and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe are justifiably concerned about both the short- and long-term effects of this disaster. ... The communities we represent expect and deserve a prompt and thorough response to this disaster as well as transparency and accountability from the federal government.”