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Navajo Nation files $160 million claim with EPA over mine spill

Posted: 6:29 PM, Dec 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-05 20:29:08-05

The Navajo Nation has submitted a claim of more than $160 million in damages to the federal government over last year's mine waste spill that fouled rivers in three western states.

A cleanup team led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency triggered the August 2015 spill while working at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.

The 3-million-gallon blowout tainted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah with tons of toxic heavy metals including arsenic, mercury and lead.

In a letter Monday to the EPA, attorneys say the tribe still awaits more than $3 million in unreimbursed expenses for costs through Sept. 30 to deal with the spill that contaminated the San Juan River.

The tribe also is seeking $159 million for 10 years of health monitoring and other assessments.