The U.S. Supreme Court requested Monday that the Department of Justice file a brief in the lawsuit between New Mexico and Colorado over the 2015 Gold King Mine accident.
Environmental Protection Agency personnel caused the release of toxic wastewater from an abandoned gold mine into a tributary of the Animas River in southwest Colorado in August 2015. New Mexico officials filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado in June 2016 over its officials’ role in the spill, in addition to suing the EPA and the owner of the mine.
The Hill first reported on Monday that the high court called on the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in on the case between the two states. The court has not yet agreed to take the case. It’s unclear if the Obama administration or the incoming Trump administration will respond to the request for a brief.
The 2015 spill sent about 3 million gallons of toxic water into the river, which extends into New Mexico. The lawsuit calls the spill “the coup de grâce of two decades of disastrous environmental decision-making by Colorado, for which New Mexico and its citizens are now paying the price.”