Media Releases

Tests Reveal Increased Selenium Pollution In Trout Downstream of Smoky Canyon Mine

January 10, 2017 • Crow Creek Conservation Alliance | Earthworks

New tests released today show that selenium pollution has substantially increased in trout downstream from Simplot’s Smoky Canyon Mine, with levels four times the criteria established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent defects and reproductive failure in fish. Crow Creek Conservation Alliance and Earthworks released the results as they’re calling upon Simplot and federal agencies to accelerate clean-up and prevent future pollution as required by the mine’s operating permit.

Media Releases

Conservationists Win Lawsuit Against Mining in Idaho’s Frank-Church River of No Return Wilderness

August 3, 2016 • Earthworks and Idaho partners

Boise, ID – The U.S. District Court ruled in favor of conservationists, finding that a Forest Service decision approving a mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dump trucks and drilling rigs miles inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness violates the Wilderness Act, the National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The court decision invalidates the company’s mining plan and requires the Forest Service to conduct further analysis of the proposed mining exploration and evaluate less invasive alternatives for activities in the Wilderness.


Cabinet Mountains Wilderness

The Rock Creek Mine Proposal

Mining company Revett Silver is proposing to develop an enormous copper/silver mine beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Kootenai National Forest of western Montana -- one of the original ten areas protected by Congress under the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Despite the fact that the mine would tunnel beneath a wilderness area in the United States, the Forest Service claims that the General Mining Law of 1872 leaves them no choice but to permit the mine.

Media Releases

Conservation Groups File Lawsuit to Protect Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness from Needlessly Destructive Mining Activities

July 7, 2015 • Earthworks et al

Boise, ID – Conservationists filed a lawsuit today against a mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dump trucks and drilling rigs miles inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, calling the proposed plan needlessly destructive to this nationally treasured landscape.

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Golden Hand Complaint

July 7, 2015 • Earthworks, et al

Objection for the Thompson Creek Mine FEIS

May 15, 2015 • Earthworks and Idaho Conservation League

Scoping comments on East Smoky Panel Mine EIS

May 1, 2015 • Earthworks and Crow Creek Conservation Alliance

Comment on Thompson Creek Mine Final Environmental Impact Statement

April 26, 2015 • Earthworks and Idaho Conservation League
Media Releases

Conservationists Object to “Needlessly Destructive” Mining Activities in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness

March 16, 2015 • Earthworks et al

Boise, ID – A mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dumptrucks and drilling rigs miles inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is needlessly destructive to this nationally treasured landscape, charge conservation groups.
The stated goal of AIMMCO’s proposal is to conduct additional mineral sampling to determine if the claims in question are in fact valid mining claims. Validating these claims is a necessary step for the mining company to proceed with any exploration, development, or production plans.


Thompson Creek Mine Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Mine Expansion, 404 Permit, Land Use Plan Amendment, and Federal Land Disposal

June 18, 2014 • Earthworks, et al

Don’t Frack Birding Island in Idaho’s Payette River

May 30, 2013 • Blair Koch

The  Idaho Legislature's changes to the state's ballot initiative process will make it harder to change laws from the grassroots up has stymied efforts to launch a statewide hydraulic fracturing and waste injection ballot initiative.

This year Gem State lawmakers passed SB 1108, making it more difficult to gather enough signatures to push successful petition campaigns.

Currently, petitioners are required to collect six percent of registered voters' signatures statewide. Under the new law, taking effect July 1, petitioners must collect six percent of registered voters' signatures from a minimum of 18 of the state's 35 legislative districts.


United States District Court for the District of Idaho: Declaration of Kathryn Didricksen

September 17, 2012 • Kathryn Didricksen

RE: Golden Hand No. 1 and No. 2 Lode Mining Draft EIS

September 17, 2012 • EARTHWORKS

Fish deformities linked to selenium from mining operation on Wyoming, Idaho border

February 9, 2012 • Bonnie Gestring

A research team hired by the J.R. Simplot Co. has linked selenium discharged from the company's phosphate mine near the Wyoming border to high rates of deformities in trout, including cases of brown trout fry with two heads, missing fins and cranial deformities. 

Yes, you read that right. 

And, still these phosphate mines are not required to report their releases to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory - a publicly available database so communities can have information on the amount of pollution released in and near their homes.

And, what's worse, the company is asking for an exemption from water quality standards for two selenium polluted streams near Simplots Smoky Canyon Mine in Idaho.

The "phosphate patch" in this region is notorious for the number of livestock deaths associated with selenium pollution.

For more information, read this great piece.  And, to read our comments to the EPA to require phosphate mines to report its toxic discharges to the TRI, read here.


Phosphate Mining Should Report Its Toxic Releases

October 11, 2011 • Bonnie Gestring

Good news. The EPA is considering adding phosphate mines to the list of industries that must report the amount of toxic pollution they release into air, water and land. What? They don’t do this already? No. And, they should.

Phosphate mines are responsible for large releases of selenium, which is harmful to wildlife, livestock, fisheries, and public health.