New Mexico to Sue EPA over Colorado Gold Mine Spill and Pollutionj

The state of New Mexico intends to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over last year’s gold mine spill that polluted the Animas River in Colorado and three other states.

The state filed papers on Thursday claiming that the government had created “an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of New Mexico’s citizens and the environment of the Animas and San Juan Rivers.”

The spill happened as an EPA cleanup crew was at the Gold King Mine and accidentally released 3 million gallons of toxic mine sludge and waster that contained arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, mercury and zinc. The spill contaminated rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.

“From the very beginning, the EPA failed to hold itself accountable in the same way that it would a private business,” alleged Ryan Flynn, cabinet secretary of New Mexico’s environment department. “The EPA caused an unprecedented disaster that may affect our state for years to come; they must take responsibility.”

Flynn told the Associated Press the state had no choice but to sue because the EPA had shirked its duties. The notice filed by New Mexico asked the federal government to take “meaningful measures to clean up the affected areas” and also agree to a long-term plan that will research and monitor the effects of the toxic spill.

The gold mine was located north of Durango and the polluted water traveled through the Animas Valley into New Mexico and the San Juan River.

Farmers and municipalities were forced to shut off water supplies at thousands of wells. Farmers and ranchers on the Navaho Nation were left for weeks without water for their crops and livestock.



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