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Monday, May 12, 2014

Methow mining--comments needed this week!

A very disturbing letter from the Methow Valley Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest arrived in the NCCC mailbox last week. The letter, from Methow District Ranger Michael Liu dated April 18 is notifying us of a mining operation around Flagg Mountain  (Flagg sits directly above the town of Mazama).

Discovery Consultants will be establishing at least 15 drill sites to determine extent of mineral resources.  While all sites will use existing roads, many of the roads are now closed, overgrown and will need to be re-opened/made passable.
The project is located with Mgmt Area 25 (MA 25)--an area of Late Successional Reserve (big, old trees).
Drilling to start in August 2014.

The USFS are doing this under a categorical exclusion (CE 32.2(8), but we are trying to convince them to do a full Environmental Assessment (EA), and to "just say no" to the whole thing.  The Methow Valley, like all of the drainages of the North Cascades, is unsuitable for mining activity--one need look no further than the Azurite Mine remediation, or the Holden Mine remediation to see the devastating ecological impacts of mining, all done under the outdated "General Mining Law of 1872".  This law gives away public land and treasure for $5 per acre (yes, five dollars per acre), taxpayers get NO royalties from the extracted minerals, but are left with all of the risk and liability associated with mining.  Invariably taxpayers are left to pay the majority of cleanup costs, and when/if mining companies do pay, they underfund such efforts, leaving a toxic legacy for generations to come.

We have until May 18th to comment.
via email:

via USPS:
Michael Liu
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Methow Valley Ranger District
24 West Chewuch Road
Winthrop, WA 98862

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