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Federal judge requires more up-front study for Idaho mining

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

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