Stibnite Draft EIS Released, Putting Headwaters of the South Fork Salmon at Risk
The DEIS for this massive, open-pit gold mine is so inadequate that it precludes meaningful analysis. This DEIS, put simply, does nothing to alleviate our concerns about the myriad risks Midas would pose to the watershed of the South Fork, the recreational values of the area, and the public lands that it will impact.
-Nic Nelson, IRU Executive Director
The draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Stibnite Gold Project released today shows 2,800 acres of public lands, 800 acres of private lands, and miles of the South Fork of the Salmon River would be impacted if Canadian mining company, Midas Gold Corporation’s, Stibnite Project is permitted. Midas Gold seeks to establish itself as a pro-environmental, locally-focused company with a stellar public relations strategy consisting of endless statistics, graphics, and literature touting their plans of restoration and goodwill for Idaho; however, their operations plan fails to live up to these ideals. In response to the release of the DEIS, conservation leaders expressed disappointment with the US Forest Service’s failure to conduct a rigorous and fair environmental review and its dismissal of potential impacts to the Stibnite area.
Fred Coriell, Save the South Fork Salmon and Idaho Rivers United Board Member says, “As expected the Stibnite Gold Project DEIS, with its broad assumptions and inadequate environmental analysis, fails to acknowledge the gravity of the impacts that this mining project will have on the South Fork of the Salmon watershed. The alternatives analyzed are simply restatements of Midas Gold’s originally proposed operating plan. These alternatives do little to assist the Forest Service in making a decision that benefits not only ESA-listed fish, but the people of Idaho who depend upon and value the greater Salmon River watershed.”
“The DEIS for this massive, open pit gold mine is so inadequate that it precludes meaningful analysis.” Nic Nelson, Executive Director of Idaho Rivers United stated. “This DEIS, put simply, does nothing to alleviate our concerns about the myriad risks the Stibnite Project would pose to the watershed of the South Fork, the recreational values of the area, and the public lands that it will impact.”
This DEIS outlines significant destruction to unspoiled public lands and critical fish habitat – including bull trout and chinook spawning grounds, and represents a mass degradation of the landscape. This project would undo past and ongoing restoration efforts and waste the millions of dollars spent by government agencies and the Nez Perce Tribe.
A 60 day comment period is open until October 13. “A 60 day comment period, given the extraordinary circumstances of our country, is inadequate for a 5,700 page document that took three years to draft, and highlights the bias the administration had in preparing this document, the hope to quell public engagement, and is contrary to the intent of law for this review process,” continued Nelson.
Comments can be submitted to the USFS by mail; instructions for submitting comments can be found on this USFS website.