The idea that gold can be used as an investment has been around for decades, and the gold rush that swept the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s saw investors pour into the precious metal.
Today, it is used in a variety of products and in the development of new technologies, including smartphones, solar power and microchips.
But in recent years, it has become clear that gold mining is not for everyone.
In 2015, a group of miners sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and an environmental group for alleged abuse of their land by gold mining operations.
The suit alleged that mining operations on BLM land were dumping toxic waste into the Ogallala Aquifer, a waterway that feeds into the Colorado River, and that the gold mining operation was poisoning drinking water.
In December 2016, the court rejected the BLM’s claims, finding that the company violated a 2010 law that prohibits the dumping of toxic waste on federally owned land.
A federal judge in 2017 rejected the case, saying that the BLM did not have a good case to show that mining could damage drinking water and that “no reasonable person” would rely on mining operations to produce drinking water in an area where drinking water is scarce.
The BLM has responded by issuing a cease-and-desist order against the gold miners, which could make the action more costly for the mine owners.
A second suit, filed in the same year, claimed that the mining operation’s actions violated a 2005 law that requires federal agencies to ensure that “all of the water that is available for drinking in the state and in any water distribution system is being used for drinking and not for the extraction of gold, silver or copper.”
In the years since, mining operations have continued to dig, drill, fill wells and mine more gold.
According to the Bureau’s Environmental Impact Statement for the Gold Rush Mine near Bismarck, North Dakota, the mine’s mine operating plan, filed with the federal government in 2017, states that the mine is not in a protected waterway, and “mines on federal land are not required to provide drinking water for drinking water purposes.”
“The company’s actions, which are in violation of the BLM [environmental impact statement], violate the law and endanger public health and safety,” the suit reads.
“The company should be required to stop its mining operations and ensure that all drinking water sources are being used to produce water for public drinking purposes.”
A spokesman for the Bureau told the AP that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
In a statement to the AP, the agency said the company was responding to the complaint.
A 2016 study from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine found that drinking water quality in communities affected by mining operations is worse than in other communities.
The study said that water quality for drinking was higher than that for irrigated crops and for agricultural uses.
The EPA found that the wastewater injection of gold mining wastewater into the aquifer was “likely contributing to the elevated concentration of dissolved metals in drinking water, and also contributing to increased salinity in drinking and drinking-related drinking water supplies.”
The study also found that more than 30 percent of the communities surveyed reported significant contamination from the mining operations, and one-third reported water quality that was significantly worse than the water quality reported in other parts of the state.
The report also found significant pollution in some communities, particularly those in the West, with more than 40 percent of communities reporting significant contamination.
The Gold Rush mine, however, did not address the contamination and health concerns of the people who live in the area.