AP NEWS

Judge won’t dismiss suit against EPA over mine waste spill

March 1, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has denied the U.S. government’s request to dismiss a lawsuit that New Mexico, Utah and the Navajo Nation filed against the Environmental Protection Agency over a mine spill that polluted streams in three states.

U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson issued his decision Thursday.

The lawsuit stems from the 2015 spill of 3 million gallons (11 million liters) of wastewater from the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado. An EPA crew inadvertently triggered the spill, releasing nearly 540 U.S. tons (490 metric tons) of metals. Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were polluted.

New Mexico, Utah, the Navajos and about 300 individuals filed lawsuits seeking more than $2 billion in damages. The suits were consolidated, and Johnson is presiding over the case in Albuquerque, New Mexico.