Erin Brockovich will speak Tuesday at Shiprock High School

The Daily Times staff
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich will speak Tuesday at three Navajo Nation high schools.

The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President announced Friday that Brockovich and President Russell Begaye will visit areas along the San Juan River that have been affected by the Gold King Mine spill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted responsibility for the accidental spill last month that released more than three million gallons of toxic wastewater into the Animas River, which meets the San Juan River and flows through tribal land.

Brockovich is scheduled to speak at noon at Shiprock High School's Chieftain Pit, according to a post on the Navajo Nation president's Facebook page. She will also speak at 3 p.m. at White Horse High School in Montezuma Creek, Utah, and at 5:30 p.m. at Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Ariz.

"The continuing situation resulting from the Gold King Mine spill is unacceptable," Brockovich said in a prepared statement. "The EPA's actions and response reflect an organization that is drastically underfunded, understaffed and in need of overhaul. I stand with the Navajo Nation and call upon the U.S. government to do what is right and clean up this mess."

Brockovich's three speeches will be open to the public and streamed live on the Operation Yellow Water channel.

Brockovich gained notoriety after she was portrayed by Julia Roberts in the 2000 movie "Erin Brockovich."

The movie tells the story of how the legal clerk helped residents of Hinkley, Calif., secure a $333 million settlement in 1996 against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for contaminating the town's groundwater.

In a prepared statement, President Begaye expressed gratitude for Brockovich's help in raising awareness of the mine spill's effects.

"We 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," he said.