Protect Mount St. Helens
On February 26th, our Executive Director Bob Dingethal and our Conservation Director Jessica Schafer spoke with Carl Wolfson on his radio show Carl in the Morning about our effort to stop mining on Mount St. Helens. You can listen to the interview here.
On December 20th, 2012 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a final decision to approve two hardrock prospecting permits for exploratory drilling for gold and copper 12 miles from the crater of Mount St. Helens. The drilling will occur less than 1 mile from the Green River and ½ mile from several significant recreation sites including Ryan Lake and the Green River Horse camp. The BLM’s insistence that the disturbance would be less than ¼ acre ignores the bigger questions surrounding this proposal including impacts to the Green River from aquifer use, sediment, and discharge; impacts to the recreational opportunities like hunting, horseback riding and fishing; and the public interest in this land.
We are not going to remain silent on this issue. The GP Task Force is currently reviewing the Environmental Assessment and will be taking action to prevent the degradation of our public lands, beginning with an administrative appeal.
Let the Forest Service and the BLM know that you don’t agree with its decision by joining over 3,000 of your neighbors by signing our petition demanding that the BLM and the Forest Service protect our valuable public lands and say NO to exploratory drilling and mining near Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Also, please help the GPTF protect this landscape by donating to help us cover our expenses.
Mount St. Helens is an iconic mountain and along with the surrounding public lands and rivers is a treasured scenic, recreation, and cultural resource that belongs to all of us. The mountain, however, has been threatened by international mining interests. In early 2010 a Canadian corporation, Ascot Resources, purchased mineral rights and is now seeking to conduct exploratory drilling just outside of the National Monument and 12 miles from the crater. The Forest Service approved a drilling plan in 2010 without undergoing an environmental assessment (EA) of the project and in response the Task Force filed a complaint in federal court in 2011 asking for a full environmental review of the exploratory drilling project. Senator Cantwell supported our efforts with a letter to the Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Although Ascot Resources was able to drill in 2010 (see photos of the 2010 drilling here), the company pulled its 2011 plans in response to our complaint and the BLM started the EA process in late 2011.
This is not the first time we have faced this issue and spoken out loud and clear that Mount St. Helens, the Green River, and the public lands surrounding them are too valuable to risk on a project like mining. In 2005, the Bureau of Land Management rejected a lease proposal for a mine in this very same spot because of the public opposition to the project.
- Mining and drilling in this location is a bad deal for local communities, and runs contrary to the intended use of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
- Mining and exploratory drilling pose an unacceptable risk to streams and drinking water, impacting public health, agriculture, and fisheries.
- A foreign company would make all the profits, leaving people downstream with a legacy of pollution.
- Mining and drilling in this iconic and fragile area would threaten the clean water, abundant wildlife and unspoiled beauty the region is known for, compromising local quality of life and our economy.
We want to ensure that this area is known for one crater not two. The GPTF submitted detailed comments on the EA in August 2012 and we are currently awaiting a decision. We will update our website as more information becomes available.