The Idaho Rivers United community made a strong statement this month when it spoke clearly in favor of clean water and healthy fisheries in the South Fork of the Salmon River basin.
A large mining company is proposing three massive open pit mines at the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River, a river prized for its fisheries and whitewater.
July 20 was the deadline for comments on Midas Gold's plan of operations, under review by the U.S. Forest Service, as mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. Nearly 600 IRU members and supporters signed our letter in objection of the project, which unnecessarily puts the river at risk of further contamination.
"We oppose any action that threatens this amazing recreational resource including water quality, fisheries habitat and recreational access to popular boating segments on the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon and South Fork of the Salmon rivers," they wrote. "Further, taxpayers cannot afford to fund another toxic cleanup for a private company."
Countless additional river lovers filed individual comments in objection to Midas Gold's mining plans.
While the comment period for the plan of operations was open, the Forest Service almost concurrently released a revised plan for mineral exploration, submitted by Midas. The move created a little confusion, but the gist is that Midas is intent on more mining, not on restoration as the company's public relations efforts indicate. It's important for people to stay involved and submit further comments through Aug. 14.