Tuesday, June 23, 2009
court ok's dumping gold mine waste in alaska lake
from ap: The Supreme Court has upheld a federal government permit to dump waste from an Alaskan gold mine into a nearby lake, even though all its fish would be killed. By a 6-3 vote Monday, the justices say a federal appeals court wrongly blocked the permit on environmental grounds. Environmentalists fear that the ruling could set a precedent for how mining waste is disposed in American lakes, streams and rivers. The Army Corps of Engineers in 2005 issued a permit for waste disposal at the proposed Kensington mine north of Juneau. Under the plan, tailings — waste left after metals are extracted from ore — would be dumped into Lower Slate Lake. Environmentalists sued to halt the practice, saying dumping the mine tailings in the lake would kill fish. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco blocked the permit, saying the dumping is barred by stringent Environmental Protection Agency requirements under the Clean Water Act of 1972.
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