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

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. | 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 of wastewater from the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado. An EPA crew inadvertently triggered the spill, releasing nearly 540 U.S. 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.