Statement: PLF hails High Court Ruling for Responsible Mining Practices
Sacramento, CA; June 22, 2009: Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys applauded today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling against environmentalist efforts to put new and unwarranted regulatory roadblocks in the way of federal mining permits.
In the case of Coeur Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, environmentalist litigants had tried to stop the reopening of the Kensington gold mine near Juneau, by arguing that permits for the disposal of crushed waste rocks (known as mine tailings) must pass through a second level of Clean Water Act bureaucratic review, by the Environmental Protection Agency, over and above the traditional regulatory review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Court held that review under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act – i.e., Corps of Engineers review – is the proper and sufficient permitting scheme.
Pacific Legal Foundation submitted an amicus brief urging this result, and PLF attorney Brandon Middleton issued this statement applauding the Court’s ruling:
Brandon M. Middleton
“The Court got it right on both legal and practical grounds. A redundant, double permit requirement for disposing of mine tailings isn’t required by the statute. And, as the court recognized, in a practical sense an overly bureaucratic, double permitting rule would create costly confusion in the permitting process. The decision allows the most common and environmentally sound methods for the disposal of mining waste to continue. The court rejected environmentalist arguments that could have the effect of crippling the mining industry. This is a sound decision and an especially welcome development given the precarious status of the national economy.
“The nation’s mining industry, and especially Alaska’s, would have suffered a serious blow had the Court ruled in favor of environmental organizations. Instead, the Court’s decision provides much needed clarity to mining companies like Coeur Alaska and will better enable them to provide jobs for Alaskans and Americans everywhere.”
PLF attorney Brandon Middleton is available to be interviewed, at (916) 419-7111.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is the nation’s oldest and most successful public interest legal organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts nationwide.