New Mexico sues Colorado over mine waste spill

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico announced it is suing Colorado, claiming the state is "directly responsible" for hazardous conditions that happened after the Gold King Mine spill last year.

The massive waste spill on Aug. 5 at the southwest Colorado mine turned the Animas River yellow. The plume of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals then went down river into New Mexico and Utah.

The lawsuit filed with the U.S. Supreme Court claims New Mexico is paying the price for the aftermath, saying residents rely on the river for drinking water, ranching, farming, tourism and more.

The lawsuit demands communities to be compensated from the past and protect them from future problems.

New Mexico is also suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the owners of two mines.

“We had hoped EPA and Colorado would try to work with us and come up with solutions,” New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said. "But the state of Colorado, its leadership, seems intent on defending EPA at every turn and is unwilling to work with us to move forward in a meaningful manner.”

The EPA said last year it takes responsibility for the cleanup after a contractor triggered the spill.

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