WEDNESDAY JANUARY 9, 2019: Public Meeting (drop-in, open-house style) 5:00 - 7:00pm at the Best Western Vista Inn at the Airport, 2645 Airport Ave, Boise, ID
It’s hard to get your head around the size, and sheer magnitude, of a project that could create one of the largest open-pit mines in the world in our Boise National Forest, along the headwaters of the Boise River. These are our public lands. We need our business members and friends engaged! The U.S. Forest Service is once again taking comments and holding public meetings regarding the proposed exploratory drilling project at the Idaho CuMo Corp.’s mining claim site, situated near Grimes Creek.
Grimes Creek flows into Lucky Peak Reservoir and is part of the Boise River watershed which supplies valuable irrigation and drinking water to surrounding communities, as well as parts of Boise. The current CuMo exploratory drilling project being considered by the Forest Service would create about 13 miles of new roads, and allow the use of about 5 miles of existing unauthorized roads to reach up to 122 drill pads within the 2,885-acre site. On the CuMo website they state: “Currently, Idaho CuMo Mining Corporation is advancing its CuMo Project towards feasibility and its goal is to establish itself as one of the world’s largest and lowest-cost primary producers of molybdenum.”
Idaho CuMo Mining Corp., a subsidiary of a Canadian based mining company, says they intend to hire 50-60 local workers and spend $100 million – money that will benefit local families and economies during this exploratory drilling project. As a nonpartisan business voice in support of the advantage Idaho's preserved outdoors and public lands represent to our state and economy, Idaho Business for the Outdoors (IBO) does consider the economic value a mining project on public lands represents to our state, as well as our rural communities. However, this project will limit access to public lands, decrease outdoor recreation and its associated revenues (which represent 2.3 billion in wages and salaries to Idaho, according to the Outdoor Industry Association), pose risks to wildlife and threaten air, land and water quality in surrounding areas and beyond.
Federal Courts have sent this project back for environmental review twice on account of insufficient environmental analysis. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge ruled in 2012 that the Forest Service acted arbitrarily and capriciously by approving the CuMo Exploration Project without first examining potential groundwater contamination. In his opinion he cautioned, “The very nature of drilling holes 1,500 to 3,000 feet into the ground seems likely to impact the underlying surface including groundwater. . . . These are significant environmental concerns”. Again in 2016, Advocates for the West, sued faulting the Forest Service for approving the CuMo Exploration Project without taking sufficient steps to protect water quality and rare flower habitat.
IBO remains concerned about the size of this project and its associated risks. The threat a mining disaster would present to our Boise River watershed, public lands, public health and economy could be devastating. It is also unlikely the costs of a mining disaster could be mitigated through the $300,000 bond CuMo has provided to cover the planned exploratory drilling to protect the taxpayers from footing the bill for any cleanup. Please join us on January 9, from 5-7p.m. at the Best Western Vista Inn at the Airport to learn more about the US Forest Service’s latest environmental assessment and to voice your concerns.