Search The Site
Press Release of Senator Cantwell
Cantwell Applauds BLM Decision to Reject Mining Near Mount St. Helens
Wednesday, April 30,2008
WASHINGTON, DC – Wednesday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s decision to reject an application for hardrock mining on environmentally sensitive land at the edge of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
“After carefully weighing all the information, including public comment, and environmental impact statements, today the Bureau of Land Management made the right decision,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. “Mount St. Helens, and the lands nearby, are key pieces of Washington’s natural heritage and should be preserved and enjoyed for recreation, not for exploitation by a private mining company. We stood up and demanded that BLM keep inappropriate development out of sensitive lands, and fortunately they listened.”
Cantwell has worked diligently to highlight local opposition to the mine as well as the environmental sensitivity of the proposed mine area. In April 2007, Cantwell sent a letter to BLM’s Acting Director Jim Hughes urging the agency to reconsider its plan to approve the mine.
Cantwell is currently working with her colleagues on reforming the Mining Law of 1872, a 135 year old law that governs mining on western public lands to ensure that America’s most pristine places are protected from the effects of hardrock mining.
“Nearly 200,000 annual visitors enjoy hiking trails that provide breathtaking views of crystal clear lakes, pinnacle studded ridges and wildflower laden mountain slopes in the Monument’s backcountry,” Cantwell continued. “Rejection of this application means that scientific research, recreational opportunities, municipal drinking water supplies, and threatened salmon and steelhead runs in the river won’t be endangered. Moving forward, we must have meaningful reform of our antiquated mining laws to balance mineral development and the protection of our national treasures and western waters.”
Idaho General Mines, now merged with and named General Moly Inc., applied for a hardrock mining lease in March 2005. On March 14, 2007, BLM issued a preliminary hardrock mineral lease to Idaho General Mines for land on the northeastern edge of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. A mine on this land could harm water quality in the nearby Green and Cowlitz Rivers – used by Southwest Washington residents and by endangered salmon and steelhead – reduce recreation opportunities in the area, and cause erosion, and other environmental degradation, in and around the proposed mine.
# # #