EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – Environmentalist groups lost their challenge to a chromite mining project on the Oregon coast, which they say threatens the habitat of the threatened coho salmon.
The environmentalist groups, including the Oregon Coast Alliance, challenged a decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service that concluded a 160 acre chromite mining project near Coos Bay would not affect the coho salmon population.
The groups said in their complaint that the fisheries service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in their decision to allow the mining.
They claimed the presence of hexavalent chromium in the ground water around the mine site will harm the local fish and wildlife and pollute the watershed.
The groups sought a declaration that the federal agencies violated the Endangered Species, Clean Water, and National Environmental Policy Acts, and an injunction ordering the fisheries service to prepare an environmental impact statement.
The agencies, along with intervenor Oregon Resources Corporation, moved for summary judgment, which U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan granted.
“(T)he fact that there is evidence supporting a different scientific opinion in the record does not render the agency decision arbitrary and capricious,” the judge wrote, finding the defendant agencies complied with their obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act when it found the project would have no significant impact.
Hogan also found the agencies looked the presence of hexavalent chromium that the mining would create, and found no problem with their analysis.