Lake or dump? You decide

 

Slate Lake in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Photo: Sierra Club.

FOR THOSE wondering about whether there is recourse to the Supreme Court’s  Coeur Alaska ruling last Monday, there is.

The decision, which by a 6-3 vote upheld the legality of dumping gold mine waste into Lower Slate Lake in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, “can be undone in one of two ways,” said Ed Hopkins, Director of Sierra Club Environmental Quality Program. “One is the Obama administration could issue a rule-making and overturn a rule that the Bush administration did in 2002, which essentially created this problem. Or Congress can pass the the Clean Water Protection Act, which would also overturn the 2002 Bush administration rule.”

The Clean Water Protection Act would return the definition of “fill” to its original meaning (ie: not including pollutants), but it has been stymied in the past by advocates of mountain top removal