Noranda stirs up a swarm of opposition

  • Back of a Wyoming Woolens truck

    Greater Yellowstone Coalition
  • hirt from Scary Mary's store in Cody, Wyo.
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, A park boss goes to bat for the land.

While Crown Butte Mining Inc. already owns patented land within the Gallatin National Forest, it needs additional land for its mill and waste rock. That need has set into motion the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires study of environmental and social impacts of the operation.

The mining company is footing the bill for the environmental impact statement - $1.5 million so far - while both the Forest Service and Montana's Department of Environmental Quality are preparing what will probably become a 750-page document. State staffer Mike Da Silva says Yellowstone Park's 100 pages of comments will be incorporated into the EIS.

Park Superintendent Michael Finley, however, worries that the EIS may sacrifice quality for "an artificial deadline. We have very few options outside public education and understanding and the political process," he says.

That process appears to be working for him at the moment.

The Wyoming Legislature recently passed a law bringing Crown Butte under the jurisdiction of the state's Industrial Siting Act, if the firm decides to abandon the controversial high-altitude impoundment and truck its wastes to Wyoming. And the U.S. House of Representatives' Forests and Lands Subcommittee will hold hearings on a bill that would block the mine by creating a national recreation area in the New World Mining District.

On the other hand, the area's congressional delegations are mostly hedging their bets. Montana Sen. Conrad Burns is waiting for the draft EIS to emerge this June "and thinks others should not scuttle the process," according to Matt Raymond, his press secretary. Kurt Rush, a staffer for Montana Sen. Max Baucus, says the senator "is skeptical of the ability of the company or the Forest Service and the state to meet what must be a high threshold of environmental quality."

In other congressional action, a proposal to cancel EPA veto power over projects like Crown Butte's tailings impoundment - which affects a wetland - has appeared at least twice since November as a rider to budget bills.

The battle is far from over.

For information about the Crown Butte Mine EIS, write New World Project Environmental Impact Statement, Gallatin National Forest, Box 1170, Bozeman, MT 59771.

Mary Ann Chambers in Fort Collins, Colo., contributed to this report.

High Country News Classifieds
  • WATER POLICY ANALYST WITH WRA (BOULDER)
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates seeks a passionate Water Policy Analyst with knowledge of western water issues to join our Healthy Rivers Team to strengthen...
  • GILA NATIONAL FOREST
    9+ acre inholding. Passive solar strawbale off the grid and next to the Continental Divide Trail in ponderosa pine/doug fir forest at 7400.
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • PROGRAM MANAGER, SUSTAINING FLOWS
    Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - VERDE RIVER EXCHANGE
    Verde River Exchange - Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • CODE COMPLIANCE OFFICER
    Teton County Planning & Building is hiring! Our ideal candidate is a team-player, a problem-solver, pays attention to detail, and can clearly communicate technical material...
  • ARCHITECTURE DRAFTSPERSON/PROJECT MANAGER
    Studio Architects is seeking a full time Architectural drafts-person/project manager with1-3 years of experience to join our firm. At Studio Architects our mission is to...
  • ASSISTANT MANAGER/TRAINEE, COLORADO RANCH
    needed for 16,000+ acre conservation property in south central Colorado. Qualified candidate would have experience working on a ranch or wilderness property, general forestry/fire management...
  • FARM HAND &/OR NANNY IN ESCALANTE
    Nanny for 18-mnth-old. Yearly salary, vacation, health insurance. Spanish/other foreign-language native spkr prefrrd.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Washington Association of Land Trusts seeks an ED to build on WALTs significant success & to lead the association to new levels of achievement. See...
  • BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM STRAWBALE HOME IN WESTERN COLORADO!
    Secluded, energy efficient Southwestern home on 40 wooded acres. Broker - Rand Porter - United Country Real Colorado Properties. 970-261-1248, $425K
  • FORMER RETREAT CENTER/CONSERVATION PROPERTY FOR SALE
    57 acres in Skull Valley, AZ, 17 miles from Prescott, year-round creek, swimming holes, secluded canyon, hiking/meditation trails, oaks, pines, garden, greenhouse. House, office building,...
  • ARIZONA PUBLIC LANDS ORGANIZER
    Title: Public Lands Organizer About the Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF) The AWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and assisting individuals and organizations...
  • HISTORIC RANCH HOME W/ 20 ACRES
    Historic 1893 Ranch Headquarters. 4 Bdrm, 3.5 Ba, 4000 ft2. Remodeled 2002. Includes 2 studio apts, stables, arena, workshop, 5 RV hookups. Chirachua & Peloncillo...
  • VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL OPERATIONS
    The Vice President of Retail Operations will provide overall leadership and accountability for purchasing, product development, merchandising planning, visual merchandising, retail operational excellence, oversight and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners seeks an experienced fundraiser with excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    position in Phoenix with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy.
  • ROADS END CABIN NEAR YELLOWSTONE
    Vaulted ceilings, two fireplaces, two bedrooms, loft, jetted tub, wifi. Forest, mountain views. Wildlife. [email protected]
  • ACCOUNTING CLERK
    Our director is seeking to employ the services of an Accounting Clerk to assist with various accounting and administrative tasks. This is a great opportunity...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMUNITY RADIO PROJECT
    Community Radio Project, Cortez, CO (KSJD & the Sunflower Theatre). Visit ksjd.org and click on the Executive Director search link. CRP is an EOE.