New Mexico blasts US agency for late notice on orange sludge that spilled from Colorado mine

IndustriesAssociated Press

Officials in New Mexico are blasting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for not informing them soon enough about a plume of mustard-colored muck floating downstream from a Colorado mine.

New Mexico's environment secretary, Ryan Flynn, said Friday that the EPA downplayed the danger the contamination posed to wildlife, saying that potential harm can't be known until the contents of the wastewater and their concentrations are known.

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The EPA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The wastewater was accidentally released Wednesday by a cleanup team at the Gold King Mine in southwest Colorado. An estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste spilled into a creek that flows into the Animas River.

The EPA has said people should stay out of the river. Water utilities have closed intake valves to protect their systems.