The state of Utah is suing Colorado mine owners and contractors for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a massive mine waste spill that fouled rivers in three Western states with a plume of bright-yellow wastewater tainted by arsenic, lead and other heavy metals.
Utah Attorney General spokesman Dan Burton said Tuesday the state wants cleanup compensation and damages in the 3-million-gallon Gold King Mine spill that reached the San Juan River and Lake Powell.
The suit says owners of two defunct mines in Colorado allowed the wastewater to build up, and the EPA subcontractors were negligent when they accidently triggered the blowout while doing preliminary mine cleanup work in 2015.
New Mexico and the Navajo Nation have also sued the EPA over the spill. Burton says Utah hopes to settle with the agency out of court.