Stibnite Mine Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification

Stibnite Mine Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification

Current Status:

Date Filed:
Jun 25, 2024

Case Title:
Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, Save the South Fork Salmon, and Earthworks v. Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

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


Idaho Conservation League

Idaho Rivers United

To Protect:

Clean Water

Fish and Wildlife

Human Health


Case Information:

June 25, 2024 — Advocates for the West appealed a Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification issued by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to Perpetua Resources Idaho, Inc. for its proposed Stibnite Gold Project. We represent the Idaho Conservation League and Idaho Rivers United in this appeal, which was filed together with Save the South Fork Salmon and Earthworks.

The groups raised concerns during the permitting process about water quality impacts from atmospheric deposition of metals like mercury and arsenic; DEQ’s failure to consider water quality impacts projected by the U.S. Forest Service; water quality concerns over Perptua’s planned rerouting of West End Creek; DEQ’s failure to certify whether the West End pit lake will comply with water quality standards; and that DEQ failed to consider important socioeconomic factors to justify degradation of water quality. DEQ, the agency designated to make 401 certification decisions in Idaho, failed to address these concerns when it issued the certification in May 2024.

The Stibnite Gold Project is a massive gold mine proposed in the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork Salmon River adjacent to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. The area within and surrounding the proposed mine is part of the aboriginal homelands of the Nez Perce Tribe who have reserved the right to fish, hunt, gather, and pasture at traditional places in their 1855 Treaty with the United States. The project includes three open pit mines and a towering mine waste dam, threatening clean water, clean air, salmon and steelhead, wolverines and other wildlife, human health, and Tribal interests.

Case Filings