Colo. Official Who Clashed With EPA Over Gold King Mine Resigns

Mine Waste Leak
<p>(Brennan Linsley/AP)</p>
<p>Water flows down from the Gold King mine, where several days earlier an accident released heavy metals and chemical-laden wastewater, outside Silverton, Colo., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. </p>

The leader of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources is stepping down, months after he clashed with federal authorities over a massive spill of toxic wastewater from an inactive mine in southwest Colorado.

Mike King's resignation was announced Thursday. He had led the agency since 2010.

King clashed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year over the Gold King mine disaster. The EPA said that Colorado officials endorsed its cleanup operation at the mine. But in a September letter to the EPA, King said that Colorado officials neither approved nor disapproved of the operation. The August spill polluted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

A statement from Gov. John Hickenlooper Thursday said that King plans to take a new job with Denver Water.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story we incorrectly identified Mike King as the state's top environmental official. He is the leader of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources.