Gov. Herbert declares state of emergency in Utah after Gold King Mine release

Posted at 4:42 PM, Aug 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-13 11:28:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Gov. Gary Herbert issued an executive order Wednesday declaring a State of Emergency in Utah Wednesday in response to the wastewater spilled into the Animas River in Colorado that is now making its way to the San Juan River in Utah.

According to a press release from Herbert's office, they are directing state agencies to utilize all resources available to help the communities affected by the disaster.

“I am deeply disappointed by the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency," Herbert stated. "It was a preventable mistake, and they must be held accountable. 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.”

The declaration comes in response to an incident on August 5, when it is estimated more than 3 million gallons of contaminated water was released from the Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado. The EPA has taken responsibility for the accidental release, which has impacted Cement Creek, the Animas River and the San Juan River.

Herbert's announcement comes a short time after San Juan County issued a Declaration of Emergency in response to the spill.