FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2015 file photo, Dan Bender, with the La Plata County Sheriff's Office, takes a water sample from the Animas River near Durango, Colo. after the accidental released of an estimated 3 million gallons of waste from the Gold King Mine by a crew led by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA says it has almost finished reviewing hundreds of damage claims from the spill, but the agency has still not released a clear accounting of the claims made for economic losses and personal injuries. (Jerry McBride /The Durango Herald via AP, File)

APNewsBreak: EPA may be overstating claims from mine spill

March 16, 2018 - 2:56 pm

DENVER (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says it has almost finished a review of damage claims from a Colorado mine spill the agency accidentally triggered.

But an internal agency accounting of those claims could be off by tens of millions of dollars.

It's the latest in a series of complications and setbacks since EPA contractors unleashed 3 million gallons of wastewater, turning waterways in three states a bright yellow-orange.

An EPA spreadsheet says the claims totaled more than $2.5 billion for economic losses and personal injuries from the 2015 spill. The Associated Press obtained the document under an open records request.

The spreadsheet appears to overstate by $100 million the value of claims submitted by a law firm for a dozen clients.

The EPA didn't immediately respond to an email asking whether it could verify the accuracy of its list.

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