Judge: Okanogan County Mine Committed Thousand Of Clean Water Violations
A company that mined $1.3 Billion in gold from its Okanogan County operation is on the hook for thousands of environmental violations.
A federal judge ruled this week that Crown Resources committed 3,000 violations of the Clean Water Act at the Buckhorn Mountain gold mine in Okanogan County.
A lawsuit from Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the mine released pollutants such as arsenic and lead into groundwater and nearby streams between 2008 and 2017, when it was shut down.
Ferguson's office released an update on the lawsuit Thursday, saying penalties for the violations could reach into the millions.
Crown Resources and its parent company, Kinross Gold, operated the 50-acre mine just a few miles south of the Canadian border.
A statement from Ferguson's office said the penalties Crown will face for these violations will be determined at a later phase of the case. Kinross is not part of this week's order, and the case against that company is ongoing.
“Buckhorn Mountain is one of the unspoiled natural areas of our state,” Ferguson said. “These companies had a responsibility, and legal obligation to protect it. They failed in that responsibility, thousands of times. We will continue our work to hold them accountable.”
This week’s ruling came from Judge Mary K. Dimke of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.