Navajo leader: EPA replaced contaminated mine water with water tainted by oil

Navajo leader: EPA replaced contaminated mine water with water tainted by oil
Credit: Alexa Rogals/AP

The president of the Navajo Nation said he feels betrayed that water supplied by the Environmental Protection Agency appeared to be tainted with a black oily substance.

The water was delivered by the EPA to Shiprock, New Mexico, on Friday 14 August, to sustain agricultural operations and livestock after an EPA accident released a toxic plume from Gold King Mine into their natural water supply.

When the water arrived, Joe Ben Jr, a representative of Shiprock’s farm board, said he rejected it after noting signs of contamination.

EPA officials told the Navajo president, Russell Begaye, that Ben is “an unstable individual” who was “agitating” – potentially to achieve some kind of political edge in the escalating discord between the EPA and the Navajo nation, according to Begaye.

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