Supreme Court OKs Toxic Wastewater Dump in Alaska Lake

In a sad but expected ruling this week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a 2006 injunction that had been preventing a gold mining company in Alaska from dumping 4.5 millions tons of toxic wastewater slurry into the Tongass Forest’s Lower Slate Lake. Everyone agrees that such a large toxic dump would kill all living things in the lake — but the mining company says they’ll simply restock the lake after they’ve finished mining.

To me, restocking isn’t a valid answer to the problem of killing all the fish and aquatic life. A better solution? Stop dumping toxic wastewater in the first place.

The Circuit Court’s ruling came after the Supreme Court sided with mining interests, concluding that the Army Corps of Engineers could issue this permit. Environmentalists argued that the Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, prohibited such toxic dumps and put the responsibility for regulation with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court’s June 22 ruling rejected this line of reasoning, saying there was nothing preventing the Army Corps of Engineers to be the one to issue the permit.

Environmental groups worry that this ruling sets a dangerous precedent and will allow other industrial interests to pursue similar toxic dumping in waterways. The only way to stop this plan is to change the law.

That’s just what could happen if Congress passes the Clean Water Protection Act. This new bill reaffirms the original purpose of the 1972 Clean Water Act: to protect waterways from being used as waste disposal sites. The passage of the Clean Water Protection Act will ensure lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands are not destroyed by industrial waste dumping by passing.

For the safety of our country’s waterways, urge your Representative to pass the Clean Water Protection Act today!


Janis Totham-Davies

Actually, Congress must react now and stop this dead in its tracks. This Supreme Court ruling on the 22nd of June 2009 to allow a mining company to dump its toxic waste into an Alaskan lake, has to be halted now.

What in heaven's name were you all thinking of? Have you all gone utterly mad? I will make sure that everyone involved with this disgusting madness is held accountable, for evermore.

You obviously want your names to go down in history with every other nut that is doing their level best to destroy everything on this planet.

You want it, you now have it. Repeal this disgusting betrayal now. This country doesn't seem to know what clean water is anymore, nor does it apparently care.

In the short time that Europeans have been on this continent they have done nothing but, kill, kill, kill. If it doesn't suit us, we will destroy it. After all this is our land, right? Wrong, this is not your land or my land from coast to coast, it belongs to the indigenous people, flora and fauna.

Pamela C.
Pamela C.7 years ago

I apologize for the incomplete list of the Governing Board of Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation. It did not transfer well. Please try copying and pasting this link:

Pamela C.
Pamela C.7 years ago

FYI --
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation Board of Directors:

Dennis E. Wheeler
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Coeur d' Alene Mines Corporation

James J. Curran
Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, First Interstate Bank, Northwest Region
James J. Curran
Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, First Interstate Bank, Northwest Region

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of First Interstate Bank, Northwest Region (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) from October 1991 to April 1996; Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of First Interstate Bank of Oregon, N.A. from February 1991 to October 1991; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A. from March 1990 to January 1991; Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Interstate Bank of Idaho, N.A. ...

John H. Robinson
Chairman of Hamilton Ventures LLC
John H. Robinson
Chairman of Hamilton Ventures LLC

Chairman of Hamilton Ventures LLC (consulting and investment) since founding the firm in 2006. Vice Chairman of Olsson Associates (engineering consultants) from 2004 to 2005. Chairman of EPCglobal Ltd. (professional engineering staffing) and Executive Director of MetiLinx Ltd. (software) from 2003 to 2004. Executive Director of Amey plc (business process outsourcing and construction) from 2000 to 2002. Vice Chairman and Managing Partner of Black & Veatch Inc. (engineering and construction) f...

Pamela C.
Pamela C.7 years ago

Why is the Army Corp; of Engineers allowed to issue such a permit? Why would they? Smells like payoff to Alaskan legislators to me. Smells like dead fish.

What is the name of the gold mining company? Who is the president and who sits on the board of directors? Who owns stock. Again, smell of dead fish. Smells like greed.

Why are people "so down" on Sarah Palin? Perhaps it has something to do with her selfish, unthinking, unfocused, and uneducated point of view, her ineptitude at office, and her complete lack of background in leadership in anything save in the forefront of sound-bit lemmings off a cliff.

Robert N.
Robert N.7 years ago

No matter what kind of law one makes, one must make sure that lobbyist groups, that are not environmentally friendly to the outcome, can not be able to insert loopholes to serpentine what is morally correct.

marilyn s.
MmAway M.7 years ago

Done, will write those letters, they can't expect to keep dumping and have this earth system repair itself. I am actually MAD that this passed, it just goes to show greed outweighs wildlife...human greed. It was just sick and downright STUPID to say well we will just restock this lake. Not going to ever be the same and the slug and muck etc will be in the soil for generations.

Jaremy Lynch
Jaremy Lynch7 years ago

This makes me very sad and angry. But the practice of dumping into waterways has been going on for so long that the Court probably figured that the value of mining gold outweighs killing the ecosystem of the lake. Our country and industries must come up with non-dumping techniques that will not harm the environment. To me, dumping into waterways and posing harm to their ecosystems is just morally wrong. But people do it if they have to for the sake of their jobs. I couldn't do it if I was ordered to and would rather lose my job if I ever worked in that field. Anyways I'm rambling here. What I really wanted to say is that you can't just kill and damage the complex and fragile ecosystem of the lake and just simply restock it. To get back to its former self, the Lake and its ecosystem may not repair itself and get healthier for hundred or thousands of years. Very sad. GOLD wins, I guess.

Carol Dreeszen
Carol Dreeszen7 years ago

I have lost all faith in our Supreme Court Justices! They have proved over the past several months they do not care about anything unless it will benefit them. This is a very sad issue!

Will people ever get over ridiculing Sarah Palin?? Stop and think if YOUR family was publicly ridiculed like her and her family!! There is no excuse to do that except to show total inconsideration and thoughtlessness. But then again I guess if you want to hear constant and more ridiculing about Obama keep the heat up!!

Christina C.

Don't buy gold.

Niki Sing
Niki Singleton7 years ago

Please , how can the people who are actually going to dump this toxic waste into the lake manage to do it? How, if you know you are going to kill everything in that stunningly beautiful lake, can you possibly morally do it? We all know that we running towards killing ourselves and possibly the planet and we are all trying to do something about it so then how now with the information out there can one possibly turn away while one knowingly and willingly dumps TOXIC WASTE into a lake knowing you will destroy it?

I am left agast. I mean I know there is a huge population of stupid greedy people on this planet but come on this is just moronic. Maybe Huxley's Brave New World had another message, that the only way to control morons from committing stupid atrocities is to give them a simple job to do in a controlled environment with no room for personal thought or decision-making. Is a totalitarian regime the only way to stop these morons from ruining our earth, our life FOR A FEW BUCKS?!