BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge ruled this week that a Canadian gold mining company is responsible for polluting an Idaho river used for recreation and drinking water.
U.S. District Judge Mikel Williams decided Atlanta Gold Corporation is liable for arsenic leaking into Montezuma Creek at the headwaters of the Boise River.
The Idaho Conservation League brought the legal challenge that led to Williams’ ruling. The league’s John Robison says he is pleased with the judge’s decision and hopes the court will determine financial penalties in the coming months.
“What we are looking for in terms of a payment is basically a fund that addresses long term toxic release problems up in the headwaters so we don’t have to keep dealing with an arsenic issue.”
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Atlanta Gold Corporation built a water treatment plant in 2006 but never met the pollution requirements it agreed to. The company has said it’s not responsible for pollution from before that year. It ceased operations at the mine in 2011. In November, before ceasing operations, the company issued a press release indicating it had completed a two-year drilling program in preparation for an open-pit mining at its Middle Boise Mining District site about 90 miles northeast of Boise.
Atlanta Gold Corporation management has not responded to a request for comment.
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