Court Blocks Drilling for Gold Near Yellowstone National Park

Last month a judge in Montana ruled that a Canadian company may not begin an exploratory gold mine project in Emigrant Gulch, just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Mining on public lands near Yellowstone is already banned, but Lucky Minerals sought permission to drill on private land, beginning on July 15, 2019.

The ruling on April 16 by Park County District Judge Brenda Gilbert invalidated Lucky Minerals’ exploration license to drill for gold in a narrow canyon, which had originally been approved by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Gilbert’s decision came as the result of a lawsuit brought by Park County Environmental Council and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, with both groups represented by Earthjustice.

Earthjustice lawyer Jenny Harbine explained:

This ruling ensures that Lucky Minerals can’t harm clean water and native wildlife at the gateway into Yellowstone National Park under cover of a license that was never legally issued in the first place. Lucky Minerals should have read the writing on the wall a long time ago.

Yellowstone Is More Valuable Than Gold!

This is fantastic news for those of us who love both Yellowstone and the nearby Montana mountain ranges. As the Greater Yellow Coalition put it, “Yellowstone is more valuable than gold.”

It’s also great to know that even while Lucky Minerals was busy pushing its mining claims around Yellowstone, protecting the public lands in the area has been a bipartisan effort. In October 2018, then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made public lands adjacent to Yellowstone off limits to mining for 20 years.

In March, 2019, Trump made these protections permanent when he signed into law a massive bipartisan public lands bill.

The evidence for the damaging effects of mining is ample: Water contamination, soil erosion and pollution, loss of biodiversity, the creation of sink holes are some of the worst effects of mining on the environment. Then there’s the danger of falling into open, abandoned mines when hiking in nature.

Mines can also have severe impacts on the health of the surrounding population, with contamination caused by the leakage of chemicals.

Drilling a new mine near a National Park should never be an option.

What’s with these pesky Canadian companies?

It would be great if another attempt by Canada to destroy the environment of its neighbor to the south could also disappear.

The Keystone XL pipeline, proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada, would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Canada to Nebraska.

In November of 2018, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled that in approving the pipeline in 2017, the Trump administration had not fully considered all the pipeline’s impacts — including potential oil spills.

Last month Trump issued a permit intended to get around that ruling and push forward the shipping of crude oil from Canada’s tar sands to U.S. refineries.

Now opponents of this horrible proposal have asked a federal court in Billings, Montana, to declare that Trump acted illegally when he issued his new permit to circumvent the earlier ruling.

Canada’s Lucky Minerals has learned that it cannot descend on the greater Yellowstone area and start drilling wherever it pleases.

Now TransCanada needs to hear that same message: It’s unacceptable to endanger and pollute the environment of the U.S.

Photo Credit: Hosereed/Wikimedia Commons

59 comments

Jennifer H
Jennifer H4 days ago

Actually surprised that a Montana judge would rule this way but thank goodness. Rump is trying to destroy all our beautiful places.

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Peggy B
Peggy B6 days ago

TYFS

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Martha P
Martha P6 days ago

Thank you

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heather g
heather g6 days ago

Canada normally gets away with it and has done irreparable damage to first nations' lands. It’s unacceptable to endanger and pollute the environment anywhere!

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Ruth S
Ruth S7 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S7 days ago

Thanks.

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R7 days ago

great news

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Leo Custer
Leo C8 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD9 days ago

tyfs

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Cathy B
Cathy B9 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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