CuMo Mine

CuMo Mine

Current Status:
Inactive

Date Filed:
Jul 27, 2011

Case Title:
Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers Unites, and Golden Eagle Audubon Society v. U.S. National Forest

Staff attorney(s):
Bryan Hurlbutt
Laird J. Lucas
Todd Tucci

Client(s):

Idaho Rivers United

Idaho Conservation League

Golden Eagle Audubon Society

To Protect:

Great gray owl
Northern goshawk
Sacajaweas bitteroot

Date won/settled:
August 29, 2012

States:
Idaho

Case Information:

August 29, 2012 — US District Court Judge Edward Lodge ruled in our favor, finding that the Forest Service was arbitrary and capricious in approving the exploration without first considering the potential for water contamination caused by drilling numerous deep wells in an area littered with historic mining waste.  Judge Lodge vacated the Forest Service’s approval of the exploration and ordered the Forest Service to assess groundwater impacts before the exploration can proceed.

February 29, 2012 — Advocates for the West filed a reply/response brief on behalf of our clients, arguing that the US Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on three fronts when approving Mosquito Gold’s CuMo Mine exploration;

July 27, 2011 — Advocates for the West filed the complaint in federal court in Idaho, initiating this lawsuit and asking the court to halt Mosquito Gold’s exploration and order the Forest Service to conduct necessary studies on the exploration’s impacts to sensitive species and water quality.

December 15, 2011 — Advocates for the West submitted the Opening Brief on behalf of Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and Golden Eagle Audubon Society in a challenge to the Forest Service approval of Canadian mining company Mosquito Gold’s plan to explore for copper and molybdenum in the headwaters of Grimes Creek on nearly 3000 acres of Boise National Forest land.

Advocates for the West represented Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and Golden Eagle Audubon Society in this successful challenge to the Forest Service approval of Canadian mining company Mosquito Gold’s plan to explore for copper and molybdenum in the headwaters of Grimes Creek on nearly 3000 acres of Boise National Forest land.

The mountainous project site, located 14 miles north of Idaho City, consists mostly of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest and is dissected by many tributaries of Grimes Creek. The site provides suitable habitat for numerous species of wildlife, including “sensitive species” such as great grey owl, northern goshawk, and wolverine. The rare flower Sacajawea’s bitterroot—known to exist only in central Idaho’s mountains—inhabits the site. The site is in the headwaters of the Boise River.

Despite Mosquito Gold’s ambitious proposal to clear 69 acres of vegetated land, build over 10 miles of new roads and 137 drill pads and mud pits, and operate four drilling rigs 24/7 throughout most of the year to drill 259 exploratory wells up to 3,000 feet deep, the Forest Service made a “finding of no significant impact” and approved the exploration.