There are significant updates to the lawsuits against the EPA related to the Gold King Mine spill that released millions of gallons of wastewater into the Animas River.
The first development is that the Navajo Nation has filed a claim seeking more than $160 million from the federal government for damages.
Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said in the release that the spill transformed the river from a “life-giver and protector” to a “threat” to the Navajo people, crops and animals.
“In particular, it has impaired our ability to maintain the cultural, ceremonial and spiritual practices that undergird the Navajo way of life. Through this claim and our corresponding lawsuit, we are demanding that the U.S. government finally provide the Navajo Nation relief,” Branch said in the release.
The next item of interest is that the U.S. Supreme Court is looking at the Gold King Mine disaster and the legal dispute between New Mexico and Colorado over responsibilities when toxic pollution of a river in one state flows into another.
New Mexico contends Colorado is partly responsible for water pollution from the Gold King and other leaking inactive mines that drain hundreds of gallons of acidic metals-laced muck every minute into waterways.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas called Colorado’s conduct before the spill reckless and argued that New Mexico residents are suffering as a result. “The garish yellow cloud of contamination wrought environmental and economic damage throughout the Animas and San Juan Rivers and severely strained New Mexico’s already-stressed water resources.”
Colorado representatives clearly expressed an interest in learning what the federal government had to say about the actions of the EPA in this matter:
Colorado attorneys “are pleased that the court called on the solicitor general to present the federal government’s position in a matter clearly involving federal agency action,” spokeswoman Annie Skinner said. Colorado attorneys “will review the solicitor general’s brief, when it is filed and determine whether a reply is called for,” she said.
New Mexico is taking the action one-step further. The state has filed suit against the EPA, Gina McCarthy in her official capacity as EPA administrator, and the EPA’s excavation contractor.
Finally, Utah may be joining the legal fray:
Utah officials are considering a lawsuit against the EPA. Dan Burton, a spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s Office, said Monday that they haven’t reached a decision.
Utah also hasn’t ruled out a lawsuit against Colorado, he said.
The Obama Administration has not sought any justice for those impacted by the EPA’s actions at the Gold King Mine. It will be interesting to see how the Trump Administration cleans up the legal mess left behind by Obama’s climate justice warriors.DONATE
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