BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service violated environmental laws in approving exploratory drilling by a Canadian company hoping to build a gold mine in Idaho west of Yellowstone National Park, two environmental groups say.
The Idaho Conservation League and Greater Yellowstone Coalition filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last week to stop Excellon Idaho Gold’s Kilgore Gold Exploration Project in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest in Clark County.
Excellon Idaho Gold is a subsidiary of Toronto, Ontario-based Excellon Resources Inc. It acquired the project from British Columbia-based Otis Gold Corporation in 2020.
The environmental groups filed a similar lawsuit in 2018 to stop exploratory drilling and won. The Forest Service in November 2021 approved a new plan involving road building and 130 drill stations.
The groups in the new lawsuit said the Forest Service opted to approve the project by applying an executive order by former President Donald Trump accelerating the environmental review process, leading the Forest Service to ignore likely significant effects of the drilling.
The groups also said the Forest Service should complete an environmental impact statement, a much longer review process.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which defends federal agencies in lawsuits, didn't immediately respond to an inquiry sent through its online portal.