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BLM plans to extend comment period on Mount St. Helens mining proposal

Ascot Resources—a Canadian mining company—is once again seeking federal approval to conduct mining exploration in the Green River valley near Mount St. Helens. On January 5, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service released a modified environmental assessment (EA) for the Goat Mountain exploratory drilling project This Goat Mountain project proposal is identical to the one that we defeated in 2014. The project would include extensive industrial mineral operations on roughly 900 acres of public lands just outside the Mt. St. Helens National Monument, near the headwaters of the Green River. The proposed action allows the following activities: - Drilling 63 holes from 23 separate drill pads/sites, including within Riparian Reserves, 24 hours/day, 7 days per week from May through October; - Construction/reconstruction of approximately 1.69 miles of existing decommissioned roads; - Installation of drilling-related structures and facilities, including mine waste sumps (for disposal of drilling fluids/waste), containment buildings, water pumps, and pipes; - Logging of trees and other vegetation within and along the roads and at each drill site; and - Pumping 5,000 gallons of groundwater per day. The Green River valley is a very popular area for myriad types of recreation, including hiking, bird watching, fishing, hunting, backcountry horse riding, mountain biking, and paddling. In addition, the Green River is a proposed Wild and Scenic River, a state-designated wild steelhead gene bank that provides important habitat for salmon and steelhead populations, and serves as a source of clean drinking water for downstream communities. In fact, this area is so important for conservation and recreation that the Forest Service acquired the project area lands with Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) dollars. Mining exploration and development pose serious threats to these important resources in the Green River valley, as well as our national monument. Mining development could result in acid mine drainage, leaching sulfuric acid and other highly toxic substances into surrounding water bodies for generations. Further, this would likely be an open pit mine, which would destroy Goat Mountain, contaminate and reduce groundwater levels, and potentially dewater popular lakes and streams in the area. Mining also conflicts with the outdoor recreation and conservation purposes for which these lands were acquired. Tell the BLM and Forest Service that Mount St. Helens in no place for a mine! Sample talking points: - I oppose the shortsighted plans to conduct mining exploration and development near Mount St. Helens in the Green River valley and urge you to adopt the No Action Alternative (Alternative 1). - Exploratory drilling and associated activities would interfere with my ability to recreate in the area and diminish my recreation experience due to constant visual and noise disturbances from drilling 24 hours/day, 7 days per week in an Unroaded Recreation area (elaborate on the type of recreation you participate in and how those activities would be impacted – the more details, the better). - I am very concerned about the impacts of the proposed project on the quantity and quality of surface and ground water resources in the area. Withdrawing more than 5000 gallons of water per day could harm the integrity of the Green River, a proposed Wild and Scenic River. Drilling could also contaminate the Green River due to the addition of drilling additives to bore holes. - Mining exploration and development could harm wild salmon and steelhead populations in the Green River, contrary to the intent of Washington’s recent designation of the Green River as a wild steelhead gene bank. The purpose of the gene bank designation was to restore and maintain the abundance, distribution, diversity, and long-term productivity of wild steelhead and their habitat. - Increased roads and vehicular traffic, noise, and possible soil and groundwater contamination could harm wildlife, amphibians, birds and aquatic organisms in the project area. - The Green River is also an extremely valuable human resource, as it eventually flows into the Cowlitz River where it is withdrawn for agricultural and municipal water supplies. I am concerned about the potential impacts of this project on downstream communities (elaborate if you live in Longview, Kelso, or Castle Rock). - The Forest Service purchased the mining area lands in 1986 from the Trust for Public Land with funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for recreation and conservation purposes. Exploratory drilling and mining are not compatible with recreation and conservation purposes, so the Forest Service should not provide consent for this proposal. Please submit comments by February 4th to the following email and postal addresses, making sure to include your name and address: Jerome E. Perez State Director U.S. Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington State Office Attn: Goat Mtn. Project (OR-936.2) P.O. Box 2965 Portland, Oregon 97208-2965 Email: BLM_OR_Prospecting_EA@blm.gov
BLM plans to extend comment period on Mount St. Helens mining proposal

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The Bureau of Land Management just announced that they are re-releasing the Modified Environmental Assessment for the Goat Mountain exploratory drilling proposal for another 30-day public comment period in mid-February. Mining exploration and development could harm threatened salmon and steelhead populations in the Green River, interfere with myriad recreation opportunities in the area, and threaten agricultural and municipal drinking water supplies for downstream communities.

See the Columbian article confirming the new comment period here
See our action alert for public comment details here

Learn more about this campaign here

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