Attorney General Ferguson files lawsuit against gold mining companies

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Crown Resources and Kinross Gold for violating the Clean Water Act and dumping illegal levels of pollutants into creeks that feed the Kettle River.

Ferguson claims the two companies have violated the Clean Water Act and the Washington Water Pollution Control Act multiple times since 2014.

“Everyone has a duty to protect our waters, including multi-million dollar corporations,” Ferguson said in a release. “The mining operation knew about the potential pollution before they started construction. But when the pollution showed up and the state required them to fulfill their promise to contain it, they chose a protracted legal battle instead — and lost, repeatedly.”

Crown Resources is a subsidiary of Kinross Gold, which owns the Buckhorn Mine in Okanogan County.

Over the course of nine years, the companies extracted around $1.3 billion gold. While extraction ended in 2017, the mine continues to pollute today.

Ferguson alleges that the mine has not properly managed contaminated water since 2014.

The release can be viewed in full HERE.

RELATED: Washington state now has another bug to worry about after ‘murder hornets.’ Gypsy moths

RELATED: Construction on downtown Spokane police precinct ahead of schedule