Quantcast

Court Blocks Gold Mining Near Yellowstone National Park

Popular
Countryside near Emigrant, Montana near where a Canadian company wanted to mine for gold. SoCalChris / CC BY-SA 3.0

A Canadian company cannot carry out exploratory drilling for gold mining on land just north of Yellowstone National Park, a Montana district court ruled Monday.


Protecting the public lands around Yellowstone has been a bipartisan effort, as Earthjustice, which argued the case against the Canadian company, pointed out in a press release. Former Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke banned mining on public lands near Yellowstone for 20 years in October 2018, and this was made permanent in March when President Donald Trump signed a massive, bi-partisan public lands bill. But Lucky Minerals Inc. had sought permission to mine on private land in Emigrant Gulch.

"The court's ruling is a critical piece in protecting Yellowstone's Gateway from the menace of gold mining," Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) Executive Director Caroline Byrd said in the press release. "The Trump administration, the Obama administration, Congress, the Forest Service, the Park County Commission, thousands of citizens and more than 420 Montana businesses all agree, Yellowstone is more valuable than gold."


The Greater Yellowstone Coalition joined with the Park County Environmental Council to challenge Lucky Minerals. Park County District Judge Brenda Gilbert ruled in their favor, invalidating the Montana Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) permit for the project, The Associated Press reported.

Gilbert had already ruled in May 2018 that the DEQ permit did not consider the drilling's impact on water quality and wildlife, according to GYC and Earthjustice. However, a provision of the Montana Environmental Policy Act prohibits judges from blocking projects because of inadequate environmental analyses, The Associated Press reported.

Because of that provision, Lucky Minerals would have been allowed to begin exploratory drilling in July, before the new DEQ analysis was completed, Earthjustice explained. So the groups challenged the loophole, saying it violated the state's constitution. On Monday, the court agreed, arguing it gave the public "no meaningful chance to participate in the agency decision," Earthjustice reported.

"This ruling ensures that Lucky Minerals can't harm clean water and native wildlife at the gateway into Yellowstone National Park under cover of a license that was never legally issued in the first place," Earthjustice attorney Jenny Harbine said. "Lucky Minerals should have read the writing on the wall a long time ago."

Lucky Minerals CEO John Mears told The Associated Press that the company would likely appeal. However, GYC noted that in the meantime the company no longer has a permit to drill.

"Lucky Minerals should have learned by now that our community will not rest until our irreplaceable wild places are safe from industrial gold mining," Park County Environmental Council Executive Director Michelle Uberuaga said in a press release. "We will win because local residents, businesses, and elected officials are united to protect our natural resources and local economy against this threat."

GYC is also fighting the Crevice Mining Group, which has been granted permission by DEQ to mine up to 5 acres at a time on private land on Yellowstone's border without having to submit to an environmental analysis.

Correction: A previous headline stated the court blocked gold mining in Yellowstone National Park.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less