One more British Columbia threat to Glacier National Park

Gold deposit discovered on ridge visible from Glacier in the North Fork Flathead River-

First it was coal mining, then coal bed methane, now gold; and all the pollution runs into the United States.

Canadian company claims rich gold find north of Glacier National Park, raising concerns. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian

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Nevada a bad neighbor state: Closing Jerritt Canyon gold mine said to be part of bigger battle

Nevada wants to keep regulation out of federal hands for selfish reasons

According to the Las Vegas Sun the battle over the huge mercury plume from the recently-closed (again) Jerritt Canyon mine is really over Nevada keeping control of regulating its gold mining industry.

Closing mine part of bigger battle. State wants to keep feds from regulating industry. Las Vegas Sun. By Lisa Mascaro

Well, of course. Nevada has a long history of exporting environmental harm to its neighbors. It didn’t begin with letting mercury poison blow into Idaho and Utah. They have plans underway to steal water from under Utah’s west desert and maybe even Idaho.

For years Nevada smelters sent toxic heavy metals and more traditional pollution into Idaho and Utah.In the late 1980s, there was a multi-billion dollar plan for a huge coal fired power plant in the extreme NE corner of Nevada where essentially all the pollution would blow out of the state.

The federal government itself used the Nevada desert as the site of open air atomic bomb testing whose radioactive fallout caused many cancer cases in Utah, Idaho, California, Montana, and places every further away.

Earlier. August 22, 2008. Mercury pollution investigation shuts down Nevada gold mine near Idaho border
March 16, 2008. Six Nevada gold mines are worse mercury polluters than Jerritt Canyon?
March 15, 2008. Nevada closes Jerritt Canyon Mine for mercury releases.

Mercury spewing Nevada gold mine gets shut down again

The damn thing was closed. They started up again in March-

Thanks to Justin Hayes (Idaho Conservation League efforts), the incredibly toxic Jerrit Canyon gold mine in northern Nevada was shut down in 2008. I thought that was the end of this particular source of mercury pollution (more mercury than many coal fired power plants lumped together).

However, with little fanfare the mine started again in March 2009 with a promise to the state of Nevada to install pollution control by May 30. They didn’t, so they are shut down again. I wouldn’t count on them staying shut, however. Almost no one lives in the area, but the mercury blows north and northeast into Idaho. What incentive does Nevada have to keep them under control?

Nevada gold mine closed due to mercury emissions. By Scott Sonner. Business Week.

Rocky Barker analyzes the situation on his blog. Mercury spewing Nevada gold mine gets shut down again. Idaho Statesman.

It is important to note that there are many other Nevada gold pits pumping out mercur vapor. Jerritt Canyon was simply the worst one individually.

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Gold pit mine planned at Elk City, Idaho. Alert

Elk City is a very remote small town in north central, Idaho. It is 40 miles up the South Fork of the Clearwater River Canyon from Grangeville (no facilities between them). Despite its remote location, the local streams were badly damaged by placer mining years ago.

Mining companies don’t placer mine much any more. They have moved to pit mines and cyanide heap leaching.

RM

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A Canadian mining company is proposing an open-pit cyanide heap leach mine in the headwaters of the South Fork of the Clearwater River. The Buffalo Gulch mine would be on Bureau of Land Management land just west of Elk City.

The Canadian mining company is using a flawed mine plan from the 1980s. Every major open-pit cyanide leach mine in Montana that used this same design ended up contaminating water supplies with cyanide or other toxins.

Main Points

  • This project is a threat to one of Idaho’s most precious resources: clean drinking water.
  • The mine would be only a few hundred feet from local drinking water wells and tributaries to the South Fork of the Clearwater River, an important salmon and steelhead stream.
  • If cyanide or diesel fuel were to leak into a stream or spill in a truck accident along the river, it could have devastating impacts on clean water and fisheries. The Bureau of Land Management must address transportation of hazardous chemicals.
  • The mining company must update its outdated mine plan in response to recent accidents at other mines.

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