SALT LAKE CITY – Utah has added the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a contractor as defendants in the state’s lawsuit over the Gold King Mine waste spill in Silverton that contaminated the Animas and San Juan rivers.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office said Friday it is still negotiating with the EPA and the contractor, Weston Solutions Inc., over damages from the spill, but it added them as defendants to preserve the state’s legal rights.
Neither the EPA nor Weston Solutions immediately responded to after-hours emails seeking comment.
Utah sued mine owners and other contractors in August seeking unspecified compensation for the 2015 spill that unleashed 3 million gallons of mine wastewater into the rivers. An EPA-led contractor crew inadvertently triggered the spill while excavating at the mine entrance.
The spill tainted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah with heavy metals.