Kilgore Mine Exploration

Kilgore Mine Exploration

Current Status:
PENDING

Case Title:
Case 1:18-cv-00504-CWD

Staff attorney(s):
Bryan Hurlbutt

Client(s):

Idaho Conservation League
Greater Yellowstone Coalition

To Protect:

Wildlife
Water Quality
Forest Habitat

States:
Idaho

Case Information:

On November 13, 2018, Advocates for the West filed suit against the Forest Service for approving Otis Gold’s 5-year exploration project.

On July 2, 2018, Advocates for the West filed objections to the Forest Service’s proposed approval of the Kilgore Exploration Project in the Centennial Mountains in Eastern Idaho. If approved, this extensive five-year exploration project would disrupt grizzly bears and other wildlife that depend on this critical wildlife corridor, and could pave the way for a massive gold mine.

Otis Gold Corporation wants to build an open-pit, cyanide heap leach mine in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest north of Kilgore, Idaho. Otis Gold has already completed some mine exploration in the area. Last fall, the company submitted a significantly expanded proposal to build 10 miles of road and 140 drill sites throughout the forested project site. As proposed, Otis Gold would operate three drill rigs 24-7 from July through November for five years to drill hundreds of deep exploration drill holes, averaging 1,300 feet deep per hole.

The Forest Service is trying to rush its approval of the Kilgore Project forward without adequate public involvement and without fully assessing, avoiding, and mitigating its harmful impacts. The constant noise, lights, and other activity associated with Otis Gold’s large-scale drilling program would disrupt grizzly bears and other wildlife living in and passing through this important migration corridor along the High Divide. Whitebark pine would be removed to make way for the extensive network of new roads, which diminish bear security and elk cover. Vehicle traffic would deliver sediment to the many small streams that dissect the site, and fuel haul and drilling could contaminate in West Camas Creek. But the Forest Service is ignoring and improperly downplaying these impacts, such as through false assertions that the Kilgore Project site is not in the Centennial Mountains and by using Otis Gold’s previous drilling as an excuse to treat the area as a sacrifice zone.

We are partnering with Western Mining Action Network to file this case on behalf of partners Idaho Conservation League and Greater Yellowstone Coalition.