Investigation underway in Navajo Nation Toxic Spill

Last month, the Navajo Nation demanded the federal government pay $162 million to cover damages caused by the Gold King Mine spill. Citing the Federal Tort Claims Act, the nation said the toxic spill turned the San Juan River sickly orange color and continues to disrupt ranchers and farmers in the Native American nation. The toxic spill is believed to contain heavy metals, including arsenic, mercury and lead.

toxic-mine-spill-2
Private investigators are often called upon in these cases to document the damages via extensive witness interviews as well as determine causation. Environmental cases are massive undertakings, with fact-gathering requiring the identification of witnesses at multiple properties over the course of decades. The spill is just the latest affront to the burgeoning Native American environmental movement.

“The spill disrupted the Navajo Nation’s economy and damaged the people and environment in numerous ways,” the nation said in the claim letter. “It fundamentally altered economic, cultural, ceremonial and spiritual practices that support the Navajo way of life.”

The EPA allegedly had documented signs of trouble for many years, but did nothing to prevent the blowout.