Posted on September 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Court determines that Forest Service failed to meet environmental review standards in approving exploration project on public lands
Pollution from mining can affect ground and surface water for many decades, like here at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine site in Summit County, Colorado, where miles of stream have poisoned by acid mine drainage. Photo by Bob Berwyn.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A late August federal court ruling from a U.S. District Court in Idaho could have a ripple effect on proposed mining activities around the West.
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Lodge requires the U.S. Forest Service to do more baseline environmental analysis and disclose potential water quality impacts from an exploratory mining proposal.
In his decision, Lodge, a Bush-era appointee, said the Forest Service failed to meet standards spelled out under federal environmental laws when it comes to evaluating and disclosing potential effects to groundwater. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands, US Forest Service, water | Tagged: Environment, mining, NEPA, public lands, U.S. Forest Service, Western Action Mining Project | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 20, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The El Chino open-pit copper mine, near Silver City, New Mexico.
Record gold prices spurring new activity; watchdog groups say now is the time to update federal mining law
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — If federal lawmakers are serious about shrinking the budget deficit, they should be looking seriously at a proposal by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that would make sure the oil, gas and mining industries pay their fare share.
Markey introduced his proposed legislation in the House Natural Resources Committee last week.
A key component of this comprehensive legislation would overhaul the General Mining Law of 1872, which allows mining of gold, copper, uranium and other metals virtually anywhere on Western public lands, with few environmental safeguards and no return to the taxpayers. Hardrock mining is the only industry that extracts resources from public lands that does not pay federal royalties. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Ed Markey, Environment, General Mining Act of 1872, General Mining Law of 1872., mining, Summit County News, West | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 8, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A site plan for a proposed gold mine near Fairplay.
Wavering economy drives gold price upward; more mining proposals possible
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With the price of gold surging to near $1,800 per ounce, it’s no wonder that there’s talk of new gold mines opening in Colorado. One of the latest proposals is for a small combination placer gold, sand and gravel mining operation on five acres on an 80-acre BLM parcel near Fairplay.
A BLM comment period on the proposed mine just ended. A draft environmental assessment will be posted at this BLM website. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: BLM, Bureau of Land management, Fairplay, gold, gold mine, mining, South Park, Summit County News | 6 Comments »
Posted on February 21, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A map that's part of the Forest Service review process shows the area of proposed mining operations.
Alabaster quarry seeking to expand operations
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service says it will carefully evaluate a plan for alabaster mining on the White Banks mining claims near Avalanche Creek in the Crystal River Valley.
Originally staked by Mystic Eagle Quarry, LLC, the White Banks claims have been leased to Elbram Stone Company, establishing a valid existing right under the General Mining Law of 1872.
In recognizing this valid right and accepting a plan of operations for review, the Forest Service has a responsibility to ensure that surface operations associated with the mining are conducted, where feasible, to minimize adverse environmental impacts on National Forest surface resources. The Forest Service will analyze and disclose the environmental impacts of the proposed action, along with any reasonable alternatives, before approving the White Banks Plan of Operations.
Elbram Stone has proposed several changes from past operations including: a request for year-round operations that would require snow removal on National Forest System Road 310; mining marble and gypsum in addition to alabaster; drilling a well on-site to provide an estimated 1000 gallons per day of water; construction of a by-pass road around the mine; and construction of a log office building to replace the existing mobile bath house. Information on the mining proposal and the associated documents are online here. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado | Tagged: Elbram Stone Company, Environment, General Mining Law of 1872., mining, public lands, Summit County News, White River National Forest | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 10, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Summit Rotary Club members during a recent tour of the Climax Molybdenum mine at Fremont Pass. PHOTO COURTESY DON SATHER.
Tour helps shed light on differences between historic and modern mining practices
By Summit Voice
The Summit County Rotary Club recently followed up on last month’s visit to the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine with a tour of the open-pit Climax molybdenum mine near Leadville.
Summit Rotary Club president Don Sather organized the tour along with fellow Rotarian Fred Menzer, vice president of Climax mine operations in Colorado. Climax is a subsidiary of global multinational Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold, the world’s largest publicly traded copper company. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Climax Molybdenum, Colorado, Freeport-McMoRan, mining, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, Summit County Rotary Club | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 13, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Keystone Science School, Blue River Watershed Group lead tour to polluted site along Peru Creek
Abandoned mining equipment high along Peru Creek at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine.
Summit Rotary Club members visit the Pennsylvania Mine site.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Local Rotary Club members got a first-hand look at the heavily polluted Pennsylvania Mine site high in the Snake River Basin last week, as the Blue River Watershed Group, helped by the Keystone Science School, continued its outreach and education efforts on local water issues.
Acid mine drainage oozing from the mine and other sources pollutes Peru Creek and the Snake River for several miles downstream. Concentrations of toxic heavy metals, including zinc, cadmium and arsenic, exceed state and federal limits set to protect aquatic life. Years of study along Peru Creek and the Snake River are aimed at trying to improve water quality to a point where at least the Snake River, upstream of Keystone, could support a self-sustaining trout population. See more photos from the site visit after the break … Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: acid mine drainage, Clean Water Act, Environment, mining, Pennsylvania Mine, Peru Creek pollution, Snake River cleanup, Snake River pollution, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, Water Resources | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 25, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
A cleanup of the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine along Peru Creek has been stymied by Clean Water Act liability concerns.
‘Good Samaritan’ provision eases liability for post-remediation pollution
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — For the first time, environmental groups will be able to take advantage of an EPA Good Samaritan provision created in 2007 that’s designed to speed up cleanups of watersheds and fisheries threatened by pollution from abandoned mines.
The cleanup agreement is for Kerber Creek, at the north end of the San Luis Valley, where Trout Unlimited and the EPA have struck a deal that will shield the conservation group from potential liability as it works to clean up mine tilings along a 17-mile stretch of the creek.
The agreement could serve as a model for similar projects in Summit County, especially in the Snake River Basin, where cleanup efforts have been stymied by strict Clean Water Act provisions that shift liability for any pollution releases after a cleanup to the entity that does the work. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: abandoned mine cleanups, Clean Water Act, Environment, mining, San Luis Valley, Summit County News, Trout Unlimited, United States Environmental Protection Agency, water quality | 1 Comment »