PUBLIC LANDS – The U.S. Forest Service has issued a draft decision consenting to exploratory drilling in the Green River valley, just outside the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. A 45-day objection periods started on Tuesday.
Permits would allow a Canadian mining company, Ascot Resources Ltd., to drill 63 drill holes from 23 drill pads to locate deposits of copper, gold, and molybdenum on roughly 900 acres of public lands.
A coalition of conservation and recreation groups opposes the project, claiming mining exploration and development will disrupt recreation, pollute waters and impact steelhead habitat.
The city of Kelso recently passed a resolution opposing the mine because of impacts from leaking mine effluent and failed toxic tailings ponds that would result from locating a mine in an active volcanic zone.
“Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a national treasure that offers a unique recreational and educational experience for visitors in the Pacific Northwest,” said Kitty Craig, Washington State deputy director of the Wilderness Society. “Its borders are no place for an industrial mine that will jeopardize the free-flowing Green River, the drinking water of downstream communities, and the wide range of recreational opportunities these lands and waters provide.”
The Cascade Forest Conservancy released this video to spread the conservationist point of view: