Colorado Lawmaker Predicts: ‘We’ll See A Yellow River Again’

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Ethan Barton Editor in Chief
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Melting ice this spring could once again turn Colorado’s Animas River into a yellow mess, according to a state legislator.

“I think we’ll see a yellow river again,” Colorado Rep. Don Coram told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Gold King Mine disaster turned the Animas River bright yellow in August, 2015, when an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contractor accidentally unleashed three million gallons of toxic mining waste into the water.

The waste that turned the water yellow for hundreds of miles and temporarily poisoned the drinking water of millions of residents in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation with unknown amounts of lead and arsenic.

Coram recently watched Democrats – who control Colorado’s House of Representatives – kill a bill he introduced that would have made it easier for state officials to sue the EPA for damages related to the disaster.

“I was disappointed it was killed,” Coram said. State House leaders killed it by sending it to a committee that wouldn’t move it forward in the legislative process.

That committee is “sometimes used by the majority party to kill legislation deemed unpopular by leadership,” The Durango Herald reported.

Both New Mexico and Utah previously filed their intentions to sue the EPA, which leaves Colorado as the only state affected by the Gold King Mine incident to forgo litigation, even though that’s where the spill occurred.

Coram thinks Colorado Democrats preferred to leave the matter up to the state’s Democratic governor.

“Frankly, if the governor had done something, I wouldn’t have made the bill,” Coram told TheDCNF. The lawmaker hoped his legislation would have pressured the EPA into settling before a lawsuit was even necessary.

House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said the bill is “headed in the wrong direction” and that “it is up to the governor’s office and state agencies to apply pressure on the outstanding claims,” The Durango Herald reported.

Additionally, Coram noted the EPA is getting special treatment.

“If this were a private individual that had done this rather than the government, I’m sure there would be various charges,” Coram said. The federal government and “the state would be prosecuting.”

The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources recently reported the EPA likely violated two federal laws. Many details surrounding the Gold King Mine incident could remain hidden without a criminal investigation, TheDCNF previously reported.

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