Navajo farmers reject use of water after mine spill

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) – One of the largest communities of Navajo farmers along the San Juan River has voted to keep irrigation canals closed for at least a year following a toxic spill at a Colorado gold mine.

Navajo President Russell Begaye has asked several tribal communities to weigh in on the move.

Shiprock Chapter President Duane “Chili” Yazzie says Friday’s unanimous decision by more than 100 farmers was heart-wrenching and guarantees the loss of many crops.

He says farmers are concerned about soil contamination and want to ensure future generations can farm the land.

Tribal spokesman Mihio Manus says the Navajo Nation EPA will have test results from soil samples later this week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Navajo Nation EPA have said the river water is safe for irrigation, based on surface water testing. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s