Movie to follow…..
Erin Brockovich is joining Navajo Nation’s political battle against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The famed environmental activist will visit Navajo Nation on Sept. 8 to view the affects of a devastating EPA mining leak and could potentially testify on Capitol Hill later this month.
Navajo leaders are prepping a massive lawsuit against EPA officials for their handling of an Aug. 5 mining accident in Colorado.
The leak dumped 3 million gallons of contaminated water into Animas River and ultimately the San Juan River — one of the Navajo Nation’s primary water sources.
“I am deeply concerned with the actions of the U.S. EPA and I stand by the Navajo Nation,” Brockovich said in a statement. “The U.S. government needs to clean up the mess they caused.”
Brockovich gained national fame in 2000 as the source of inspiration for the blockbuster film “Erin Brockovich,” starring Julia Roberts. The film chronicled her time as a legal clerk in the 1990s, when she helped investigate illness in a poor California town that was tied to groundwater pollutants.
It led to a $333 million settlement against Pacific Gas and Electric for $333 million — at the time, the largest settlement ever in a direct action lawsuit.
Tribe leaders — who represent about 300,000 people — hired Hueston Hennigan LLP to represent them in the case earlier this week. The team will be led by John Hueston, who was the lead prosecutor in the 2006 case against former Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy.
Navajo President Russell Begaye said in a statement that they “appreciate Ms. Brockovich’s willingness to visit our Nation to witness the damage first hand and help raise awareness about the plight of our people.”
Earlier this week, Navajo Vice President Jonathan Nez publicly criticized White House officials for not contacting the tribe leaders nearly one month after the leak.
“President Obama and FEMA need to be more proactive and declare this as a disaster area,” Nez said in a statement after a meeting with Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). The Navajo Nation spans New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.