Owned by Coeur d’Alene Mines, the Kensington is an underground gold mine that started production in mid 2010. SEACC and our allies fought to stop Kensington’s plans to dump its toxic tailings into a lake above Berners Bay, taking the case all the way to the US Supreme Court after initial collaborative efforts failed.
For decades, SEACC has worked to protect Berners Bay, an incredibly rich estuary where three large rivers meet at the ocean. The area boasts very large salmon runs, a spring eulachon run, a unique brown bear population, native cultural sites, and other incredible nature and cultural features. SEACC's work on the Kensington mine is a continuation of these efforts to protect this special place.
In spring of 2007, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined Coeur's lake dumping plan violated the Clean Water Act. After the 9th Circuit victory, Coeur finalized this new, "paste tailings" plan and applied for permits. Coeur withdrew its application just months before the permits were to be granted in order to gamble on its controversial lake dumping plan at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Many mines have been profitable without dumping waste in America's clean water, and they don't need to change the rules to allow for more profits at our clean water's expense.
U.S. Supreme Court Decision
You can help
Action is needed to prevent further mines, such as the proposed Pebble Mine and mountaintop removal coal mines, from polluting America's clean water. Help us tell EPA and the Obama Administration to change back the fill rule to how it was for over 30 years after passage of the Clean Water Act. Toxic mine tailings should be treated as what they are, toxic waste that should be regulated by the EPA, not as so-called "fill material." Click here for more information on how to help change this Bush loophole that threatens our clean waters.
Colbert Report Video
Coverage of Coeur v. SEACC Supreme Court decision starts at 1:50.