Cattle deaths in Caribou Co, Idaho, attributed to selenium poisoning

Selenium poisoning is becoming a major problem in SE Idaho-

The number of wildlife that die is unknown.

There are many abandoned and active phosphate mines in SE Idaho. A major battle to stop the expansion of one was recently lost by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. A new state of the art mine that is claimed will produce no selenium runoff at all is about to begin on the edge of  the Blackfoot River. It’s the Blackfoot Bridge Mine. On the positive side, the mine will provide some public access to the Blackfoot River in a stretch where was closed (private property).

I have posted many stories about the selenium. Not many people read them. It seems a bit hard to stir up interest.

Idaho business news
Cattle deaths in Caribou Co. attributed to selenium poisoning.
by Mark Mendiola

Ninth Circuit puts hold on expansion of the big Smoky Canyon phosphate open pit mine

Successful appeal by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition sends case back to district court-

Federal appeals court blocks mine expansion. By Rebecca Boone. AP.

I was told that

In summary, the appellate court:
1.  Issued a stay of mine development activities;
2.  Ruled that the Idaho magistrate judge erred in disregarding GYC’s demonstration of harm to the Sage Creek roadless area from mine develoment activities;
3.  Sent the case back to the magistrate judge for reconsideration of the preliminary injunction issue in light of the threat of harm to the roadless area;
4.  Ruled that GYC had raised very serious questions on the merits; and
5.  Provided that any future appeals in this litigation will go back to the same 9th Circuit panel.

Earlier on this issue http://en.wordpress.com/tag/smoky-canyon-mine/

Freudenthal gets more time on Idaho phosphate pit mine review

The JR Simplot Company wants a 1300 acre (2 square mile) expansion of its huge phosphate pit mine in Idaho on the Wyoming border. The federal government BLM just put out a fat environmental impact statement on the Smoky Canyon Mine enlargement, which they seem ready to approve. There are many other phosphate pits in SE Idaho.

The impacts of these phosphate mines extend far beyond the pits because rainwater seeping through the spoils picks up huge levels of toxic selenium which runs into the springs, creek and rivers in Wyoming (and eventually in the Snake River in Idaho). More sheep have died of poisoning while grazing on the “rehabilitated” mine spoils than have been killed by wolves in eastern Idaho.

There is a website that is trying to alert the public to the problem. . . . Caribou Cleanwater Partnership.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. Gov. Freudenthal wants more time on phosphate mine review.

The selenium also concentrates in some native plants such as gumweed.

The phosphate rock ore is processed in Pocatello, ID into phosphate for fertilizer. Another large phosphate plant is in Soda Springs, Idaho. This mine is to feed the Pocatello plant.

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