A Win for public lands near Mount st. Helens

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Breaking: Judge Rules Against Federal Agencies' Approval of Exploratory Mining

The proposed project area (Goat Mountain to the right) in the Green River Valley.
On Thursday, February 18th a federal judge ruled that the Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in issuing mineral prospecting permits. Ascot Resources, a Canadian mining company, was given permits to drill 63 exploratory holes from 23 drilling pads. The court ruled that BLM and USFS violated NEPA by not taking a hard look at the effects to recreation and groundwater from granting the permits.

The mining site would be near the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. USFS purchased the area using the Land and Water Conservation Fund which is meant for recreation and conservation acquisitions. Unfortunately, the agency has been attempting to allow prospecting the land almost as long as they have owned it. This is the third attempt to prospect on the site. In 2011 the project was stopped after Earthrise filed suit to stop the drilling and the agency withdrew the permission. Then in 2014 the federal agencies were halted by a federal court order.

Earthrise is representing Cascade Forest Conservancy in this matter. Its Policy Manager, Earthrise alum Lucy Brookham had this to say about the developments. “This is a positive step towards preventing mining in this spectacular landscape. The Green River Valley is no place for a mine, and we hope the agencies’ decision to permit prospecting in this beautiful place will be vacated following this ruling.” 

Cascade Forest Conservancy and Earthrise will now confer with the agencies and brief remedies before the court.
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