N.M. Attorney General: Colorado Responsible For Gold King Spill

Jun 23, 2016

New Mexico’s attorney general is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against Colorado. The suit calls into question how abandoned mines were handled in Colorado before the Gold King Mine spill. 

This lawsuit follows others the attorney general has brought against the EPA and two mining companies over their involvement in Animas River contamination, which sent heavy metals into New Mexico’s rivers in August.

"The attorney general said that the Gold King Mine release is the result of two decades of disastrous environmental decision-making by Colorado, for which New Mexico and its citizens are paying the price," said Attorney General’s Office spokesperson James Hallinan.

The state said those environmental decisions include Colorado’s practice of plugging abandoned mines, which led to the blowout at Gold King. But Hallinan said the AG’s Office is open to settling out of court.

"We will continue to negotiate with Colorado, because the last thing we want is a years-long, drawn-out legal battle," he said.

If those negotiations fail, the Supreme Court will either decide to hear the case or send it to lower federal courts.