Attorney General Reyes Issues Statement Following Briefings with Colorado & New Mexico Attorneys General on Gold King Mine Spill

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joined Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas in Durango, Colo., to share information and discuss the immediate and possible long term impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gold King Mine spill with concerned citizens.

“One of the reasons I am in Durango today is to discuss with my colleagues from Colorado and New Mexico legal options to ensure the EPA lives up to its promise to be fully accountable and transparent, and to make our citizens and environment whole,” said Utah Attorney General Reyes. “It is premature to say what legal action will be taken until we better understand the damage that has already occurred and also learn what the EPA is willing to compensate. We will ensure the EPA, and any other potentially liable entities, are held legally responsible not just for short term effects but for damage that may not be known or understood for years to come.”

Upon notice of the disaster, a team of lawyers from the Office of the Utah Attorney General lent support to the vitally important actions of its clients including the Utah Departments of Environmental Quality and Public Safety, who began immediate monitoring of impacts to Utah’s waters and evaluating short and long-term health, environmental and recreational impacts to Utah citizens and tribal nations along the San Juan River.

Currently, citizens can make compensation claims directly to the EPA and the Utah Attorney General’s Office will advocate for timely and fair review of such claims.

“Utah has welcomed collaboration with neighboring states to share expertise, resources, information and possibly costs moving forward. Utah, along with sister states, is evaluating all legal options and will do everything within its power to ensure our citizens are protected and that our states are made whole for any damages caused,” concluded Attorney General Reyes.

State, county and local officials are collaborating to protect and assist Utah citizens in this emergency while attempting to get answers from the EPA through independent and internal investigations, and hold the agency and its contractors fully accountable for its actions.