Utah declares state of emergency, considers legal action over mine spill

People kayak in the Animas River near Durango, Colo., Thursday in water colored from a mine waste spill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that a cleanup team was working with heavy equipment Wednesday to secure an entrance to the Gold King Mine. Workers instead released an estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste into Cement Creek, which flows into the Animas River. Near Durango, Colo., Aug. 6, 2015 | Photo by Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP; St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes Wednesday joined Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas in Durango, Colorado, to share information and discuss the immediate and possible long term impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gold King Mine spill.

“One of the reasons I am in Durango today is to discuss with my colleagues from Colorado and New Mexico legal options to ensure the EPA lives up to its promise to be fully accountable and transparent – and to make our citizens and environment whole,” Reyes said. “It is premature to say what legal action will be taken until we better understand the damage that has been and is occurring and also learn what the EPA is willing to compensate. In that process, we will ensure the EPA, and any other potentially liable entities, are held legally responsible not just for short term effects but for damage that may not be known or understood for years to come.”

Upon notice of the disaster, a team of lawyers from the Utah attorney general’s office lent support to the vitally important actions of its clients including the Utah departments of environmental quality and public safety, and their divisions of water quality and emergency management.

These agencies began immediate monitoring of impacts to Utah’s waters and evaluating short and long-term health, environmental and recreational impacts to Utah citizens and tribal nations along the San Juan River.

Currently, citizens can make compensation claims directly to the EPA and the Utah Attorney General’s Office will advocate for timely and fair review of such claims.

I am here today to ensure Utah has a voice in this process – because Utah citizens need an advocate,” Reyes said. “While I cannot represent citizens directly as a private lawyer, I can work to make sure there is a proper system to assess harms and claims.”

State, county and local officials are collaborating to protect and assist Utah citizens in this emergency while attempting to get answers from the EPA and hold the agency fully accountable for its actions.

“Utah has welcomed collaboration with neighboring states to share expertise, resources, information and possibly costs moving forward,” Reyes said. “Utah, along with its sister states, is evaluating all legal options and will do everything within its power to ensure our citizens are protected and that our states are made whole for any damages caused. And we are supportive of an independent review of the circumstances leading to the mass release in addition to any internal review by the EPA.”

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  • fun bag August 13, 2015 at 10:10 am

    hey mormons, admit it, if this was a Bush EPA or a Romney EPA that had done this ya’ll wouldn’t make even a peep. All of you are hypocrites– just come out and say it. Tell us all about how Obama is the boogeyman and everything “liberals” do is so mean and bad and evil. You idiots are just like a broken record– can’t think for yourselves ever, hahahahah 🙂

    • Brian August 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Bigot much?

      • Californicater August 13, 2015 at 7:00 pm

        Well said!

        • Dexter August 14, 2015 at 2:32 pm

          Oh wow another brilliant statement from CALIDOOFUS

    • tcrider August 13, 2015 at 10:55 pm

      funbag, you forgot about taking away all the guns and the bullets and obama not being a u.s. citizen and making whitey pay for everyone elses health insurance and so on and so on and so on.

  • fun bag August 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    No Bri, I was over reading posts at the troll playground that is the stgnews facebook page, and the level of ignorance and stupidity there is just astounding. Their kooky hard-right opinions actually make yours look somewhat respectable, Brian. You can sum up most of the posts as something like “OBAMA DONE IT! OBAMA DONE IT! OBAMA DONE IT! HIDE THE GUNS!”

    • Brian August 13, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      And I’m sure 100% of them are Mormon’s, and 100% of Mormon’s are that way.

      • fun bag August 13, 2015 at 5:51 pm


    • Californicater August 13, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      He did.

    • mesaman August 13, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      And if you left the IQ would rise 50 points.

      • fun bag August 13, 2015 at 9:26 pm

        So Nolan, you were around when lobotomies and trepanation were mainline therapies, huh, and that’s why you’re always going on and on about it. Tell us, did you ever receive either? And how come you told us you were in your 40s?

  • Dexter August 13, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    You gonna sue the EPA LOL.! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha really.? LOL and who’s money do you think they operate on.!

  • Bubbasheepherder August 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    I can tell Fun Bag and Cali are whining uneducated doofs and I herd sheep for a living.

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