POCATELLO (CN) – Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne violated half a dozen environmental laws by authorizing expansion of the Smoky Canyon phosphate mine into areas previously determined to be too sensitive for development, even though the mine has already polluted the area with toxic selenium, says the Sierra Club in Federal Court.
The mine in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest was designated a Superfund site because it polluted waters with toxic selenium.
Plaintiffs – the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Defenders of Wildlife – say Kempthorne violated the Clean Water Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, and BLM regulations. They want the expansion enjoined.
Their lead counsel is David Nevin with Earthjustice of Bozeman, Mont.