..."I cannot say whether the EPA’s compromise represents the best overall environmental result; but I do believe it amounts to the kind of detailed decision that the statutes delegate authority to the EPA, not the courts, to make."
Justice Breyer, in his concurring statement.
Excerpt taken from:
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
COEUR ALASKA, INC. v. SOUTHEAST ALASKA
CONSERVATION COUNCIL ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
No. 07–984. Argued January 12, 2009—Decided June 22, 2009
Never mind the fact that the CWA defines crushed rock as a pollutant. Disregard the fact that the USACE is supposed to be the permitting body for that organization. Ignore the fact that Coeur got conflicting permitting from the EPA based on syntax.
Words merely desensitize the issue. At stake is the continued health of a fairly pristine ecosystem, a wilderness area that plays host to a staggeringly large number of organisms. In a time when past digressions and egregious acts seem to be coming back to haunt us with ever-increasing frequency, how can anyone think that this might be a good idea?
If it were a responsible mining solution, we might be for the mine. This is the misuse of language acted out upon the environment, and not just any environment. This is a place in our backyard, and one of the sandboxes that we play in fairly frequently.
GoogleEarth view of the lake in question. Ignore the fact that the lake is merely a wide meadow, and that the water goes on to form the East Fork of Slate creek - and that many different types of salmonids happen to call that water home. They would understand, really.
Not only the lake and creek in question, but the health of the estuary is at stake as well. Estuaries are breeding grounds, nurseries for a wide range of animals. This particular bay hosts a massive hooligan run, one that has sustained indigenous folks for a few years, and the wildlife for a few years before that. Why tamper with the gold we already have?
ADF&G FDD map - each of the blue lines represents an anadromous stream, and each red square represents a dataset.
If Berners bay produces enough for the locals to eat and enjoy, as well as supporting the human folks that use it sustainably for both commercial and recreational interests...why mess with a good thing?