Since 2004, the Task Force has been working to protect Mt. St. Helens and the Green River from hardrock mining. Most recently, in late 2014, we successfully defeated an attempt by Ascot Resources Limited—a Canadian mining company—to conduct exploratory drilling for copper, gold, and molybdenum deposits in an effort to develop a mine in the Green River valley, just 12 miles northeast of Mt. St. Helens. Mining development could significantly harm threatened salmon and steelhead populations in the Green River, recreation opportunities in the area, and drinking water supplies for the cities of Longview, Kelso, and Castle Rock.
This is the third time that the mining industry has tried to develop a mine in this immediate area, and the third time that the Task Force has stopped them. While we were successful in defeating this most recent attempt, it is critical that we remain vigilant to continue to protect the Green River valley and Mt. St. Helens from future mining attempts. You can help!
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The Task Force’s involvement in mining issues in the Mt. St. Helens area began when General Moly Inc. (formerly Idaho General Mines, Inc.) submitted an application for a hardrock mining lease in 2005.
Below is a timeline of mining activity in the area from 2005 to the present.
Past Activity related to General Moly Inc. (formerly Idaho General Mines, Inc.)
|2004||IGMI acquired a 50% interest in the Mount Margaret deposit|
|March 2005||IGMI submitted application for a hardrock mining lease|
|April 2005||Task Force organized coalition opposing mine|
|Sept 2005||Task Force and coalition submit public comments on mine application|
|June 2006||Castle Rock passed resolution opposing the mine|
|Sept 2006||Kelso passed resolution opposing the mine|
|March 2007||Draft Environmental Assessment Released|
|May 2007||Task Force and 16 coalition partners submitted EA comments|
|Jan 2008||Longview passed resolution opposing the mine|
|Feb 2008||Over 33,000 public comments submitted to BLM – 99% opposed mine|
|April 2008||BLM denied lease application (Win #1)|
Past Activity related to Ascot Resources Ltd.
|March 2010||Ascot Resources purchased mineral rights from General Moly|
|Spring 2010||Forest Service approved Ascot‘s drilling plan without EA|
|August 2010||Ascot began exploratory drilling (see photos of the 2010 drilling here)|
|Feb 2011||Ascot submitted proposal for two prospecting permits|
|July 2011||Task Force filed complaint requesting full environmental review and injunction|
|July 2011||Forest Service suspended concurrence for drilling and halted drilling operations|
|Oct 2011||Ascot requested withdrawal of concurrence letter and NEPA review through BLM|
|Oct 2011||Case Dismissed (Win #2)|
|Nov 2011||Ascot amended permit application and submitted to BLM|
|Dec 2011||Senator Cantwell supported our efforts with a letter to the Forest Service and BLM.|
|Mar 2012||Public Scoping Period|
|June 2012||BLM released Draft Environmental Assessment|
|Nov 2012||BLM modified EA|
|Dec 2012||Forest Service released Decision Notice/FONSI giving consent to BLM for approval of two prospecting permits|
|Dec 2012||BLM issued Decision Record/FONSI approving prospecting permits|
|Feb 2013||Task Force appealed decision|
|Mar 2013||USFS denied administrative appeal|
|May 2013||Task Force formally filed a complaint in federal district court against the BLM and Forest Service|
|June 2013||Ascot intervened in the case|
|July 2014||Judge ruled in favor of Task Force on the majority of our legal claims and issued a judgment declaring the prospecting permits illegal|
|Sept 2014||Ascot filed notice of appeal|
|Oct 2014||BLM and Forest Service filed placeholder notice of appeal|
|Dec 2014||Forest Service, BLM, and Ascot Resources voluntarily dismissed their appeals of the court decision invalidating permits for the Goat Mountain mining exploration project. (Win #3)|
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