A contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency delivered nine large tanks of water to the Navajo Nation Friday, promising fresh, clean water. But the Navajo Nation, already skeptical of the EPA’s response to the Gold King mine spill, say the tanks are dirty oilfield tanks and are now even further incensed.
The water in the tanks – intended for crops and livestock – is brown and smells, and the tank it came in is far from clean.
“The EPA told us that these tanks hold only clean water for drinking,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “Clearly it is just a lie. Clearly, it is an oil tank. That’s what it is.”
Farmers and ranchers on the Navajo Nation were promised safe, clean water. Instead, the EPA gave them nine tanks of brown water that Begaye said he found oil remnants in.
Now, Navajo officials are telling farmers not to use the water from the tank, and President Begaye is asking the EPA to remove them from the Navajo Nation completely.
“They lied to us, that’s what it is. Clearly, they lied to us and it is unacceptable,” President Begaye said.
The situation is critical as acres and acres of Navajo farmland bakes in the sun.
“Our No. 1 priority is to deliver water to our cropts to save some,” said Joe Ben, Jr., the Shiprock Farm Board representative.
Ben says they need immediate relief and Wednesday called for help from anyone with water-hauling capabilities.
“Bring your trucks and trailers to haul water,” Ben said. “Never mind the government; they are failing us.”
While president Begaye calls for the EPA to make this right, Ben just hopes there will be enough water to salvage some of this season’s crop.
“Before you do anything on our nation, we will double-check our figures, because now, we don’t believe you,” Begaye said.
“Let’s harvest enough to continue our culture,” Ben said.
KOB reached out to the EPA Wednesday about the dirty tanks, but have not heard back.