The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Justice Department to weigh in on New Mexico's lawsuit against Colorado over a mine waste spill that polluted rivers in both states and in Utah.
The court on Monday asked the Office of the Solicitor General to submit the Obama administration's views on the lawsuit. The solicitor general represents the executive branch in Supreme Court cases.
The federal government has a stake in this case because the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally triggered the August 2015 spill at the Gold King Mine. The spill released 3 million gallons of water laden with arsenic, cadmium, copper and other heavy metals.
New Mexico sued Colorado in June, saying Colorado should be held responsible for the contamination as well as decades of toxic drainage from other mines.