Gov. Herbert declares state of emergency for Gold King Mine release

SALT LAKE CITY (August 12, 2015) – Governor Gary R. Herbert issued an executive order today declaring a State of Emergency in Utah in response to the Gold King Mine release.

The governor’s declaration directs state agencies to utilize all resources available to help local communities affected by the disaster.

“I am deeply disappointed by the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency. It was a preventable mistake, and they must be held accountable,” Gov. Herbert said. “Our top priority will continue to be the safety of Utahns and wildlife affected. With potential long-term implications, the emergency proclamation will allow us to continue to support affected businesses and communities.”

On Wednesday August 5, 2015 the EPA released a plume of more than three million gallons of contaminated water from the Gold King Mine in Silverton, Co. into the upper portions of Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River. The Animas River flows into the San Juan River in New Mexico and the Four Corners area prior to entering Utah.

The toxic wastewater contains high levels of heavy metals that could potentially impact Utah’s water supplies for drinking as well as agriculture, economy, recreation and wildlife in San Juan and Kane Counties. State agencies have mobilized their resources to assist with local efforts, taking necessary action to protect public health, safety, welfare and property.

Click here to view the executive order.