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Cantwell Opposes Mining Near Mount St. Helens


Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell said Monday that she’s concerned about an exploratory mining project that’s proposed on Goat Mountain, just north of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  

Ascot USA, Inc. wants to drill more than 60 exploratory holes on 23 sites in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The company’s searching for metals like gold, copper and silver.

The massive crater of Mount St. Helens and the lava dome that grew in it several years earlier is seen from the Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Ascot USA, Inc. wants to drill exploratory holes near Mount St. Helens in search of gold, copper and silver.

The massive crater of Mount St. Helens and the lava dome that grew in it several years earlier is seen from the Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Ascot USA, Inc. wants to drill exploratory holes near Mount St. Helens in search of gold, copper and silver.

Elaine Thompson/AP

Cantwell, the ranking member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment, voiced her opposition in a letter sent Monday to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The Bureau of Land Management, the agency that would issue drilling permits to Ascot, requires consent from the U.S. Forest Service. “ … I urge you not to provide that consent for the proposed Goat Mountain Project,” Sen. Cantwell wrote in her letter.

Cantwell wrote that “consenting to hardrock mining, including exploratory drilling, on lands purchased for conservation and recreation purposes is not sound public policy. The uses are inconsistent.”

She also said the mining would take place in a watershed that flows to cities that rely on the Cowlitz River for drinking water.

Public comment on the proposed drilling project ended last week.  

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