Bennet Statement on Gold King Mine Spill

Denver, CO - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet issued the following statement on this week's Colorado mine spill:

"Our top priority is to support efforts to protect the health and safety of the citizens there, focus on cleanup and recovery efforts, and make certain that state and federal agencies are taking all necessary steps to mitigate future problems. We have been working closely with local officials, the state, and emergency management officials. We have also been in close contact with EPA officials and have been pushing them to make sure everything possible is being done as quickly as possible. The community is rightfully very frustrated with the EPA's slow communication and response and we are relaying these concerns at the highest level possible," Bennet said.

"The EPA must recognize the severity of this incident and respond with all the resources available. An effective command structure on the ground in Durango will be critical to the response, and must include close coordination with other assisting state and federal agencies. We urge the EPA to provide the community with information about what water quality tests reveal as quickly as possible. Those affected deserve a firm commitment from the EPA to cover community costs related to this tragedy, including reimbursement for agricultural producers who must haul water from Hermosa Creek to replace the unusable water in the Animas River."

Sen. Bennet personally called the EPA Deputy Administrator and the EPA regional manager this week to convey the urgency of the situation and to try to expedite the water testing. We will also contact federal agencies to see what funding is available for recovery efforts, including funding for affected businesses.

Once we are through the immediate and emergency responses, we will all need to investigate how this happened, not only so that we can get answers about this disaster, but so that we can prevent it from happening again.

Sen. Bennet, Sen. Gardner, and Congressman Tipton sent a letter (below) to the EPA on Friday, pushing for swift action.

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