2011 - Rock Creek Mine Permit Voided
The U.S. District Court handed down a ruling in a case brought by nine organizations, CRG being one of them, regarding the Rock Creek mine being located under the Cabinet Wilderness. The court voided a permit which the Montana Department of Environmental Quality had granted to Revett Minerals. The ruling prohibited Revett from doing any sediment generating construction until a new complete and thorough permit application was submitted. Certain requirements were attached to this permit process such as public input and review.
2008 - Troy Mine Reclamation Plan
After seven long years of waiting for the finished version of the Troy Mine Reclamation Plan, CRG went to court against the Montana DEQ and Revettt/Sterling/Genesis Mining Company. DEQ and Revett asked for dismissal of the suit. The Court ruled against dismissal and stipulated that there be a progress report from DEQ by September, 2008. The Revised Reclamation plan was finally finished in 2011 and implemented by Sept. 2011.
2007 - Bull Trout Data Criticized
Avista Corporation – owners of Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge Dams on the Clark Fork River – issued a blistering critique of Bull Trout data in the Biological Opinion for the Proposed Rock Creek Mine based on data that was gathered over several years as a requirement of the dams' re-licensing agreement. CRG and its colleagues sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife Service asking that the Biological Opinion be withdrawn. Three months later Fish and Wildlife Service re-initiated consultation on the Biological Opinion and gave a green light to the project. However, the Bio-diversity Center and Friends of the Wild Swan have taken the whole issue of Bull Trout mitigation by the USFS back to Federal Court, citing examples of other projects like the Rock Creek Mine. There has not been a ruling yet, but CRG is waiting to re-challenge the Rock Creek Bull Trout until the court decides on a new lawsuit.
2006 - Rock Creek Mine Biological Opinion Invalidated
The Federal District Court invalidated the Biological Opinion for the Rock Creek Mine and ordered it to be redone by Kootenai National Forest. CRG filed an affidavit with Montana Dept, of Environmental Quality alleging violations of the Troy Mine Reclamation Plan and the Montana Metal Mine Act. The result was a better plan that required the 18” of topsoil on top of the tailing impoundment as required in the original reclamation plan, but which Revett tried to get winnowed down and substitute a gravel pit run. It’s interesting to note that HECLA contacted CRG on this very issue claiming they only have 8” of topsoil stockpiled.
2005 - Kootenai Motorized Access Management
Kootenai National Forest issued its decision regarding Grizzly Bear/Motorized Access Management Amendment and CRG files lawsuit. The Federal District Court ruled the Rock Creek Biological Opinion was faulty and ordered it to be redone by Fish and Wildlife Service (Full Court Decision). This year CRG also launched another spin-off, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, to lead the drive to create a new wilderness area.
2002 - Troy Mine Hazardous Barrels
CRG filed suit against ASARCO alleging that ASARCO buried hazardous industrial solvents in the Troy tailings impoundment. ASARCO denied burying anything. CRG hired experts to undertake geophysical and ground penetrating radar explorations of the impoundment site as part of the legal discovery process. The following year ASARCO, subpoenaed for an interrogatory, admitted burying barrels of waste but denied the contents were hazardous. The judge then awarded CRG $28,000 for costs of the study and approved a joint ASARCO/CRG excavation. (Full Court Decision)
2000 - Protection of Cabinet-Yakk Grizzlies
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, on behalf of six conservation groups (including CRG), asked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to issue emergency regulations protecting grizzly bears in the Cabinet Mountains and around the Yaak River in northern Idaho and Montana. In a petition sent to FWS, the groups requested additional legal protection for bears in the Cabinet-Yaak, including reclassification of the population from at status as "threatened" to "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act, and suspension of permits allowing for the destruction of the bears' habitat. (Earthjustice Press Announcement)
1997 - Troy Mine Groundwater Characterization
Citing unpermitted discharges into water from the Troy Tailing impoundment, CRG filed a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act. The suit was conditionally settled in the Fall of 1997, granting CRG unprecedented access and funding ($450,000) to conduct ground water characterization and monitoring at Troy and Proposed Rock Creek Mine tailings impoundment sites. In late 1999, ASARCO sold the Troy Mine to Sterling Mine Company, but maintained the Operating Permit. That same year, DEQ notified ASARCO that the Troy Mine Reclamation Plan was outdated and needed revision (High Country News Article).
1995 - Rock Creek Mine Proposal
The ASARCO proposed Rock Creek Mine was doggedly pursued by that company and it lead to CRG forming the Rock Creek Alliance as a spin-off to bring national attention to the issue of mining
1995 - Troy Mine Concentrate Levels
CRG discovered copper/silver/lead concentrate levels to be 2000 times the EPA criteria at the Troy Mine load-out facility in the heart of downtown Troy, Montana. Follow-up actions by CRG resulted in Montana DEQ and ASARCO undertaking remediation clean up and dismantling of the load-out facility.
1992 - Montanore Mine Water Quality Violations
US Borax subsequently sold its claims to Noranda Minerals which received a permit to develop an exploration adit for its now named Montanore Mine. In 1991, CRG discovered water quality violations at Montanore and filed suit against the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to enforce quality standards or terminate the permit for the adit. In 1992, Noranda shut down operations. The following year Noranda received an Operating Permit for the Montanore Mine, but low market prices for ore at that time lead to the abandonment of the project for the time being.
1983 - Kootenai Forest Plan
During the years 1983 - 1987, CRG was active in the development of the Kootenai Forest Plan in conjunction with the Montana Wilderness Association and the appeal process of that Plan to protect ten additional inventoried Roadless Areas not proposed in the original Plan.
1980 - ASARCO and U.S. Borax Proposal
The ensuing four years found CRG monitoring ASARCO and U.S. Borax exploratory drilling in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness. This led to the proposal of two very extensive mines, one for U.S. Borax, the other for ASARCO. CRG participated in the development of an Environmental Impact Statement for each mine.
1979 - Montana Environmental Policy Act
The American Smelting and Refining Corporation (ASARCO) proposed a 52 million ton copper/silver mine, the Troy Mine Project. A permit was granted in 1980 for the mine by the State of Montana Hard Rock Mining Bureau (now part of the Department of Environmental Quality). CRG undertook legal action and won a landmark decision in the Montana District Court which established the substantive nature of Environmental Impact Statements under the Montana Environmental Policy Act.
1976 - Formation & Dam Proposal
Troy resident Bill Martin spearheaded the formation of the Cabinet Resource Group in response to a proposal by Northern Lights Electrical Cooperative to dam the Kootenai River at the Kootenai Falls. A start-up grant was provided by the Sierra Club. CRG aligned itself with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and our joint venture defeated the dam proposal.