Window Rock – President Russell Begaye yesterday formally requested a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in response to the Gold King Mine spill. A Preliminary Damage Assessment is the first step in the application process for public assistance for recovery from a disaster for eligible applicants.
“The spill caused damage to the water quality of the San Juan River to such a massive extent that a state of emergency was declared by the Navajo Nation,” wrote President Begaye in a letter to EPA Associate Administrator Elizabeth Zimmerman. “All of the economic, health, cultural and other impacts to the Navajo people are not yet known. Given the significance of the San Juan River to the health, welfare economy, and culture of our Nation and people, the Navajo Nation, as a federally recognized Indian tribe, officially and specifically requests a mission assignment for Technical Assistance to complete a Preliminary Damage Assessment for damages as sustained as a result of the Gold King Mine spill.”
Last month, FEMA rejected the Navajo Nation’s request for the appointment of a disaster-recovery coordinator to direct the federal government’s response to the crisis. During his testimony before Congress following the decision, President Begaye called on the federal government, and specially FEMA, to provide greater support to address the disaster caused by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spill.
WASHINGTON – President Russell Begaye today testified before a joint session of the House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Natural Resources on the Gold King Mine Spill. President Begaye asked the committees for more Federal support to cope with the disaster.
“Today we come to ask for your help. The White House is silent. FEMA, DOI and other federal agencies are being told by the USEPA to not use their own resources to help us,” testified President Begaye. “USEPA has made promises but we have not seen any of these promises fulfilled. The promises remain empty. They are like the thunder we hear over our land but with no rain.”
Good Morning. Chairman Chaffetz (Oversight and Government Reform)
Chairman Rob Bishop (House Committee on Natural Resources) and ranking members of the committees.
My Name is RUSSELL BEGAYE of the KINLICHIINII and BITAHNI clan and I am the PRESIDENT of the NAVAJO NATION.
I was born and raised along the San Juan River in Shiprock, NM. Years ago, when I was a little boy, we saw hundreds of dead fish floating down the river. As boys we jump in the river catching the dying fish. I have been wondering for years, what happened and why were those fish were dead.
WASHINGTON-President Russell Begaye today called for increased support from the Federal Government to address the recent Gold King Mine spill in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. President Begaye also discussed the failed response from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to the crisis.
“In light of the devastating impacts from this spill, both known and yet unknown, we need to act quickly and thoughtfully to protect our Navajo citizens, our natural resources, the Navajo way of life, and most importantly our future generations,” testified President Begaye. “We need assistance from the responsible parties to address the short- and long-term impacts, to make us whole, and to return the beauty and hozho to our River and our people. In addition to oversight and national attention, Congress can provide forward-thinking legislative solutions to some of these issues.”
President Begaye Asks Secretary Burwell’s Tribal Advisory Committee for Cancer and Mental Health Facilities
WASHINGTON–Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye called for the establishment of cancer treatment and mental health facilities on the Navajo Nation in a tribal caucus held today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC).
“With 330,000 Navajo people, we could save money and provide our own immediate treatment,” he said. “For services, many Navajo people go off reservation. We don’t need to farm these services out.”
President Begaye told the tribal caucus that cancer is the second highest cause of death on the Navajo Nation which emphasizes the Nation’s need for cancer treatment facilities.
Window Rock – Fourteen years ago today the United States came under attack in what has become known as 9/11. It was during this attack that two passenger airliners were hijacked and flown into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.
Nationally, citizens across the United States watched in horror as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.
Window Rock – In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, President Russell Begaye requested that the Upper Animas Mining District be listed as a “Superfund Site” pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CECLA).This designation on the National Priorities List will make EPA funding and resources available to remove and contain the long-standing risks to human health and the environment posed by the historic mining activities in the area. As the Gold King Mine spill demonstrated, the over 300 abandoned hard rock mines pose a serious public health threat.
“It is well past time for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in and remediate the site in a meaningful manner to protect downstream communities,” wrote President Begaye. “The first step in this process is to list the Upper Animas Mining District on the NPL. This will provide much needed funding and technical assistance to responsibly address the threats posed by the District.”