Idaho Families for Clean Water Submits Comments on Supplemental Environmental Assessment
September 2013: Idaho Families for Clean Water - a coalition of groups and individuals including Idaho Rivers United - submitted detailed comments to the Boise National Forest on the draft supplemental Environmental Analysis on mineral exploration at the CuMo site near Idaho City. The comments raise additional questions about the impact the exploration will have on ground and surface water quality and on the ability of regulators to ensure all work is done properly.
In 2012, District Court Judge Edward Lodge had ordered the Boise National Forest to do additional review of the road building and core drilling the Canadian mining company proposed to do in the upper Grimes Creek watershed. See below for more details on the lawsuit and court order.
Thank you to all of the citizens who attended the public open houses during September and all those that submitted comments. The government shutdown will delay further action on the analysis.
Idaho Rivers United has long been concerned with the possibility that large mines will be built in the headwaters of the Boise River, the source of our drinking and irrigation water and a natural place that supports abundant wildlife and recreation.
We've been watch dogging mineral exploration by a Canadian mining company in the headwaters of Grimes Creek, not far from Idaho City, for over five years. The company claims the site is the largest unmined source of molybdenum in the world, and their promotional materials have featured an enormous open pit mine.
Would you like to see what the upper Grimes Creek watershed looks like? Would you like to learn more about historic mining in the area? Would you like to see Idaho's largest molybdenum mine? Check out this awesome Google Earth Tour. It will play in your internet browser even if you don't have Google Earth installed.
The decision reached by Forest Supervisor Cecelia Seesholtz permits a Canadian mining company, Mosquito Gold Company, to conduct a five year mineral exploration project, including the construction of up to 10.2 miles of new temporary roads and four new stream crossings.
In July, 2011, Idaho Rivers United, along with the Idaho Conservation League and Golden Eagle Audubon Society, filed a complaint challenging the Forest Service's approval of the CuMo Exploration Project. Advocates for the West represented our claim that the Forest Service had not evaluated what impact the extensive road construction and round-the-clock drilling activities will have on groundwater and on sensitive species in the project area, including wolverine, northern gawshawk, and great grey owl.
On August 29, 2012, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge found that the U.S. Forest Service’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious” when it approved the CuMo Exploration Project without examining potential effects to groundwater. He remanded the agency’s environmental document for further study and consideration. Click here to read the ruling. Read our press release.
The CuMo project is located on a forested ridge on the south side of Grimes Creek upstream of Pioneerville and Idaho City, just 38 miles from Boise. Interestingly, while the project is in the Boise River watershed, it's just a stone's throw from Garden Valley and the South Fork Payette River. Conceptual drawings of the CuMo molybdenum and copper mine show a massive open pit and complete removal of the ridge.
Here's a short video just on Thompson Creek MIne near Challis. You'll get an idea of what is in store for the Grimes Creek area.