You are here

New Mining Push Threatens Bitterroot and Salmon Rivers

Mike Bader

Rising tensions between the US and China have led the Biden Administration to announce a campaign for production of rare earth minerals used for production of electric vehicle batteries, parts for jet engines, computer chips and more.... For example, existing and projected cobalt mining in the Panther Creek area in Idaho affects roadless wildlife and fish habitat just outside of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness near the Main Fork of the Salmon River. In another area a special mining district was grandfathered inside the Frank and now this vast Wilderness and its salmon and bull trout populations are threatened by potential mining... The usual claims “we’ll use the most environmentally responsible practices,” and “this could create good local jobs” are here. That doesn’t mean there can’t be impacts. All energy sources harm the environment to varying degrees... Chemical leaching uses holding ponds or chemicals are pumped through pipes directly into the ore. The Harvard International Review found these methods “produce mountains of toxic waste with high risk of environmental and health hazards.”