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EPA Wants Gold King Mine Spill Lawsuit Tossed

By Stina Sieg
Published: Sunday, July 29, 2018 - 8:22am
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Environmental Propection Agency
An EPA official measures the pH of discharge water at the Gold King Mine in 2015.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants a federal court to toss a lawsuit over a 2015 mine spill that polluted waterways in several states and infamously turned the Animas River orange.

The lawsuit, filed by Utah, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation, seeks the repayment of cleanup costs after an EPA clean-up crew accidentally triggered the Gold King Mine spill, contaminating rivers with heavy metals. But the EPA says the court doesn't need to intervene because crews are already working on the cleanup.

In documents filed in federal court in Albuquerque, the EPA says granting any relief to the states or tribe would conflict and interfere with the EPA's jurisdiction over its on-going response and cleanup.

Utah is seeking $1.9 billion in damages from the EPA, while New Mexico is seeking $130 million. The Navajo Nation has filed a claim for $162 million.

Associated Press contributed to this report.