State of Colorado compensated $245,000 for injured natural resources caused by 2021 tanker truck rollover near Lyons
Feb. 17, 2023 (DENVER) – The Colorado Natural Resources Trustees today announced that they resolved a natural resource damage claim under the federal Oil Pollution Act through a $245,000 settlement with MTY Trucking, LLC.
The claim arose from a tanker truck rollover on Highway 36 near Lyons on April 27, 2021, that spilled an estimated 2,000 gallons of gasoline into North St. Vrain Creek. The state conducted a year-long damages assessment and identified injuries to aquatic life and habitat within a five-mile stretch of river downstream of the crash site. Insurers of the responsible party, MTY Trucking, LLC, paid the state’s natural resources damages claim, as well as a separate $18,000 payment to the federal government resolving a similar claim.
The Oil Pollution Act mandates these funds be used to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources injured by the spill. The trustees will consult with local stakeholders, including the Town of Lyons and community groups, to identify and fund appropriate restoration projects that address the harms inflicted to these public resources.
“This accident damaged the local habitat and harmed an already vulnerable river ecosystem still recovering from the 2013 flood. With this result, we are holding accountable the responsible party and we are in a position to remediate the damage. The trustees look forward to working with the Lyons community and finding projects that once again restore the St. Vrain River to health,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser, who serves as chairman of the Colorado Natural Resources Trustees.
“This settlement provides us with the opportunity to work with the community towards improving and restoring the aquatic life and natural habitat of the North St. Vrain,” said trustee Trisha Oeth, director of Environmental Health and Protection at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“The North St. Vrain hosts an important sport fishery that’s loved by both locals and visitors alike. This settlement brings much-needed resources to the table that can help make the Lyons community whole again,” said trustee Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.
In June 2021, the trucking company’s insurers paid in full two other state claims: a $55,000 Water Quality Control Act penalty assessed by CDPHE; and a $30,000 invoice from Colorado’s Parks and Wildlife Division for the illegal take of over 800 dead trout recovered in the days following the spill.
For more information about the trustees and the work they do on behalf of Colorado, please visit: https://coag.gov/office-sections/natural-resources-environment/trustees/.