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New Mexico and U.S. government reach settlement in mine spill that polluted western rivers

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Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald
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New Mexico and the U.S. government have reached a $32 million settlement to address claims stemming from a 2015 mine spill that polluted rivers in three western states.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state officials announced the agreement Thursday.

The spill released 3 million gallons of wastewater from the inactive Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado.

The bright-yellow plume of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals flowed south to New Mexico, the Navajo Nation and Utah.

Water utilities were forced to shut down intake valves and farmers stopped drawing from the rivers as the plume moved downstream.

Colorado and the tribe also have reached multimillion-dollar settlements.