Suit filed over Coors fish kill

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Suit filed over Coors fish kill

By Kieran Nicholson, Denver Post Staff Writer

Saturday, August 25, 2001 - GOLDEN - The Colorado Division of Wildlife filed suit Friday in Jefferson County District Court against the Coors Brewing Co. to recover the value of more than 50,000 fish killed last year after the company discharged 77,000 gallons of beer into Clear Creek.

Colorado law values each fish at $35, making the potential fine at least $1.75 million, said Todd Malmsbury, a wildlife division spokesman.

Wildlife officials said that a year of discussions with the brewing company have not rectified the damage and that it's the division's "duty" to file the complaint to "protect Colorado's aquatic resource and recover damages caused by this discharge."

The complaint states that Coors discharged beer into the company's wastewater treatment plant on Aug. 24, 2000.

The solution, which contained yeast, malt and barley, was so organically strong that the plant stopped operating normally and the beer was released into Clear Creek with little or no treatment. It consumed the available oxygen in the water, which killed fish from the plant's discharge outlet to more than seven miles downstream on Clear Creek.

Coors officials said they've offered to restock the river, but the DOW has "repeatedly declined the offer."

"Coors would prefer to resolve the issue outside the court system. But since the DOW has now chosen to take legal action, Coors will proceed with litigation to obtain a reasonable solution," Coors said in a written statement Friday.
 

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