From The Farmington Daily Times (Noel Lyn Smith):
A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss claims brought by state, federal and local governments and private entities related to damages caused by the Gold King Mine spill.
U.S. District Court Judge William P. Johnson denied the motion on Feb. 28 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, its contractors and mining companies…
New Mexico, Navajo Nation and Utah, along with residents in Aztec and on the Navajo Nation, have filed lawsuits for environmental damages and tort claims against the federal agency and its contractors and mining companies since May 2016.
The defendants requested that the court dismiss claims, arguing sovereign immunity barred the litigation.
The two states and the tribe are seeking to recover the costs of their responses to the spill under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
New Mexico officials commended the latest court decision.
James Kenney, secretary for the environment department, said the state will continue to hold the defendants responsible for the environmental and economic harms caused by the spill.
Among damages the state is seeking on its behalf and for agricultural and recreational operations is more than $130 million in lost income, taxes, fees and revenues…
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the tribe is pleased with the judge’s decision.