Gold King Mine Spill: Supreme Court Won’t Hear NM Lawsuit Against CO

Photo: Gold King Mine Spill | Water Retention Pond - AP Photo
Water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident outside Silverton, Colo., In this August 2015 photo.

The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear arguments on New Mexico's lawsuit against Colorado over a 2015 mine waste spill that polluted rivers in both states and Utah.

The nation's high court made the announcement Monday, the final day of their term. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented with that decision, arguing unsuccessfully that the lawsuit should be allowed to move forward.

Colorado Attorney General Coffman says New Mexico should not have sued Colorado in the U.S. Supreme Court because the Environmental Protection Agency caused the disaster.

However, James Hallinan, a spokesman for New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, says the Supreme Court's ruling only limited the venue in which Colorado can be sued for the harm done to New Mexico.

New Mexico sued Colorado in June 2016, saying Colorado should be held responsible for the contamination as well as decades of toxic drainage from other mines.