Cantwell Urges Full Review of Proposal to Drill next to Mt. St. Helens

“In March 2005 Idaho General Mines, Inc., submitted a Hardrock Mineral Lease Application for minerals located within the same deposit. Strong regional opposition resulted in over 33,000 public comments, and in April 2008 the Bureau of Land Management released a ‘no decision’ on this application,” Cantwell wrote.

In contrast to the project’s potentially significant environmental costs, its potential to create jobs at this stage appears minimal. In its 2011 drilling proposal to the USFS, Ascot, the company behind the proposal, believed it would potentially hire just 18 people for the project – only three of which would be locally hired.

In 2007 Cantwell led the fight to reconsider plans to build a mine near Mount St. Helens. The BLM issued a preliminary hardrock mineral lease to Idaho General Mines for land on the northeastern edge of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on March 14, 2007. During a two-month public comment period, Cantwell sent a letter to then BLM Acting Director Jim Hughes highlighting local opposition to the plan as well as its environmental impact for the area. She joined local stakeholders in convincing the BLM to rethink its decision to let Idaho General Mines operate in the area.

The BLM is currently determining what level of environmental review and public involvement are necessary to evaluate the project.

The full text of the letter is below.