Mining Updates in Washington State
There has been significant movement in the world of mining in our state recently.
Most notably, the proposed copper mine located closely NE of Mount St. Helens (Loowit) at the headwaters of the Green River, has been dealt a serious set-back. After a ground-swell of public opposition, the federal BLM reversed a preliminary decision it made a year ago to issue the lease to a Colorado-based mining operation. That ground-swell was comprised of over 33,000 comments, 99 percent of which voiced opposition to the mine, according to agency representative Michael Campbell. We have not only ourselves and involved local citizenry such as the Gifford-Pinchot Task Force to thank, but at least one Congressional champion too:
"We stood up and demanded that BLM keep inappropriate development out of sensitive lands, and fortunately they listened," said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who helped lobby against the mine.
While the BLM decision leaves room for potential future mining development, it is highly unlikely to pursue such action. Naturally, NCCC will keep a close eye on the situation, and will call our membership to action should it be required.
It would appear Crown Resources will indeed mine gold out of Buckhorn Mine in the Okanogan. After literally more than a decade of battles with various mining companies, a settlement has been reached to allow the mine to proceed. While not the best news for the ecology of the area, significant mitigation measures were won by conservationists statewide, led Okanogan Highlands Alliance. Most importantly, there will be no pit mining (all subsurface shaft), all ore processing will be done in a (more) controlled environment in the town of Republic, and an independent entity will monitor water quality and water supply for years to come.
Mining Law of 1872
Efforts continue to revise the outdated and destructive General Mining Law of 1872.
Again , Senator Maria Cantwell is taking a leadership position, trying to work legislation through congress to do away with this law that gives away our public resources for pennies, but leaves us the taxpayers with multi-million/billion dollar clean-up costs, and a trashed ecosystem.
|North Cascades Conservation Council
P.O. Box 95980
Seattle, WA 98145-2980