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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Tribe, Feds Sue Mine for Massive Pollution

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (CN) - Uncle Sam and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe demand that a Nevada mining company pay for a century of pollution and destruction of natural resources in thousands of acres of wetlands. Sidney Resources Corp. and its predecessor have dumped more than 100 million tons of mining waste, including lead and cadmium, into the Coeur d'Alene River and its tributaries since 1910, according to the federal complaint.

The complaint concerns the Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund Site in the Northern Idaho Panhandle. The area has been mined for silver, lead, zinc, cadmium, copper and gold, since the late 19th century.

The defendant, Sidney Resources, is the successor to Sidney Mining Co., which incorporated in Idaho in 1910.

Uncle Sam and the tribe first began assessing the damage in 1990 and issued a "Report of Injury Assessment" in 2000. They found that "Over time, these wastes have been distributed over more than 160 miles of the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane Rivers, lakes and floodplains."

The complaint is the latest in a 14-year series of filings seeking remedies and damages for remediation of the destruction of federal and tribal land, including damage to fish, birds, other wildlife, plants and water.

The tribe is represented by Howard Funke of Coeur d'Alene.

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