Conservationists Appeal Decision to Allow CuMo Drilling

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A coalition of regional nonprofits filed an appeal with the U.S. Forest Service, challenging a decision to allow a Canadian mining company to construct 10 miles of roads and drill 200 test holes in the headwaters of the Boise River near Idaho City.

The Mosquito Gold company has been working at the so-called CuMo site since 2004 with plans to build what it calls "one of the largest open pit mines in the world." Following a series of public meetings on the project, the U.S. Forest Service in February granted Mosquito Gold's request to build roads and drill for copper and molybdenum, which is used to make steel. The site is in the Grimes Creek watershed, tucked in the mountains between Crouch and Idaho City.

"Idaho has enough mining pollution," said Pam Conley, president of the Golden Eagle Audubon Society, one of the appellants. "We are appealing the project because of the negative impacts to ground and surface water, birds, wildlife and other resources."

Golden Eagle Audubon was joined by the Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United and the Sierra Club in the appeal.