Salton Sea cleanup in jeopardy as states battle over Colorado River water
Workers will soon be digging into a stretch of the Colorado River that spans two states in a bid to clean up a historic spill that has sparked a fierce legal struggle.
The effort is in its infancy, and the environmental group that is leading it, Restore the Colorado, says it could take years to complete the clean up of the 40-hectare Salt Creek site.
The lawsuit over the spill, which occurred last year, is one of several lawsuits brought by states and local governments over the waters beneath their borders.
The state of New Mexico and Colorado, which border each other, argue that while the federal government has the right to regulate the river, state governments can be forced to give up their water rights into the river.
The rivers of the US have traditionally been a source of water for the West.
The Colorado River is the third longest river in the world and one of the most important waterways.
The river flows through three states, and the stretch of it between Colorado and Mexico is the only water-rich area in the world that does not flow into the Pacific Ocean.
There are no significant tributaries to the river near the site of the spill.
The spill occurred at a treatment plant that received wastewater from a factory.
The plant was constructed by the chemical industry in the 1940s to meet the needs of a war-time demand for chemicals after the war.
The wastewater was pumped into four ponds, before it passed through a complex of underground pipes to the treatment facility.
The spill was discovered in October, just three weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Trump seized on the spill to promote his claims that the US was being overrun by undocumented immigrants.
Mr Sanders, a Democrat, called the president a “pathological liar”.
Mr Trump has accused him of wanting to stop the flow of $800bn (£617bn) in US goods.
He has also accused Mr Sanders of being a “fighter” on trade, a claim that the Vermont senator denies.
The Trump administration has imposed trade tariffs on almost all imports, with Mr Trump’s new deadline for a decision on levies coming in just over two weeks.