Other Current Issues

What You Can Do Today to Prevent Mining at Mount St. Helens

By Charlotte Persons

The USDA Forest Service published on February 8, 2018, its decision approving Ascot Resources' application for two permits for exploratory drilling for mining at Goat Rock on the edge of the Mt. Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. The USFWS’s role was to advise the Bureau of Land Management on whether to issue the permits.

Next will be a decision from the BLM to issue the permits. Unfortunately, once the permits are issued and the company assays the mineral value, the only way to stop mining will be a withdrawal of the Green River Valley from the jurisdiction of federal mining laws.

Please call your federal representatives and tell them how disappointed you are in the USFS's decision, and that you want to see the Green River Valley protected from mining.

The most important person to call is Rep. Herrera-Beutler, who represents the 19th District. Without her support a legislative withdrawal has no chance. Contact information is given at the end of this article.

For background information on this mining issue, read on...

What are the next steps?

  1. The decision by the Bureau of Land Management to issue the permits is expected before June 2018, so Ascot Resources can begin drilling this summer. But drilling might be delayed by litigation.
  2. During the rest of 2018, conservation organizations will have a series of public events, meetings with public representatives, and other outreach efforts to build support for legislative action.
  3. By September 2018 a legislative withdrawal will be drafted. It might be introduced at the beginning of the congressional session or after the midterm elections.

Contact information for your federal representatives:

U.S. Rep. Herrera-Beutler: 
Vancouver office:  (360) 695-6292
Washington office:  (202) 225-3536
email: https://herrerabeutler.house.gov/contact/

Sen. Patty Murray:
Vancouver office: (360)-696-7797 
Washington office: (202) 224-2621
email: https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme

Sen. Maria Cantwell:
Vancouver office: (360) 696-7838
Washington office: (202) 224-3441
email: https://www.cantwell.senate.gov/contact/e-newsletter


Background Information on Proposed Mine at Goat Rock Mountain:

For those of you who may be new to this issue, since 2006 Willapa Hills Audubon Society has been working to defeat this mine because the mine lease area: 

  • directly borders the northeastern boundary of the Mt. Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument and would affect the enjoyment of visitors to the Mount Margaret area;
  • is on the headwaters of the Green River, a tributary of the Toutle-Cowlitz Rivers and a state-designated gene bank for wild steelhead trout; 
  • has sulfuric soils and ores that are especially susceptible to Acid Mine Drainage, which can poison fish and contaminate downstream local communities’ drinking water
  • is suitable for thinning timbering projects that would provide long-term and sustainable tax income and jobs for the local economy better than a short-term mine;
  • was within the blast zone of the 1980 eruption but was re-planted by the USFS and has grown into a beautiful area enjoyed by birders, hikers, hunters, fishers, and horse-riders;
  • and part of the lease area was bought and donated to the USFS with funds from the Land Water and Conservation Act, which is used to purchase land for recreation and conservation in state and federal parks, refuges, and conservation areas.

For all these reasons, this is no place for a mine!

More information can be found at Cascade Forest Conservancy’s website at


Official documents are on the USFS website https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46996

and BLM website https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/projectSummary.do?methodName=renderDefaultProjectSummary&projectId=52147

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