EPA: No mine spill compensation for groups that file suit

The Environmental Protection Agency says it can't reconsider multimillion-dollar damage claims from the state of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation over a mine wastewater spill because both have sued the agency.

The EPA said Monday the law prevents it from reconsidering claims from anyone who has filed suit.

That could greatly reduce the claims eligible for compensation. New Mexico sought $130 million and the Navajos $162 million.

The EPA inadvertently triggered the spill at the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado, tainting rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The EPA initially rejected all claims for property damage and personal injury from the spill. The agency appeared to change course Friday, saying it would reconsider those claims.

New Mexico and Navajo officials didn't immediately return emails seeking comment Monday.