New Mexico releases draft monitoring plan for mine spill


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico is updating a long-term plan for monitoring the effects of a 2015 mine waste spill that fouled rivers in three Western states.

The state Environment Department released the draft late Tuesday. Public comments will be accepted through March 3.

Environment Secretary Butch Tongate says the plan was developed by a state-led team that included science and engineering experts from agencies and organizations around the state.

Tongate voiced concerns about the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the final days of the Obama administration not to pay damage claims. He said there was little hope the agency would hold itself to the same standards required of private citizens and businesses.

The agency triggered the spill at the Gold King Mine in southern Colorado, releasing 3 million gallons of wastewater tainted with heavy metals.

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