The Associated Press has learned that economic damage from a Colorado mine waste spill caused by the Environmental Protection Agency may be far less than originally feared.
Farmers, business owners, residents and others initially said they suffered a staggering $1.2 billion in lost income, property damage and personal injuries from the 2015 spill at the Gold King Mine.
But the total now appears to be about $420 million. A single law firm that originally filed claims totaling $900 million for a handful of New Mexico property owners tells the AP it has lowered their claims to $120 million.
An EPA-led contractor crew inadvertently released 3 million gallons (11.3 million liters) of wastewater tainted with heavy metals from the mine in August 2015, polluting rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.