The Green River Valley north of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a place of deep beauty, deep meaning to Indigenous communities, a gene bank for wild steelheads and a popular outdoor recreation destination. This landscape is worth more than any short-term gains that might be made at the expense of public interest, health, biodiversity and the rights of future generations to enjoy this corner of the Cascades. Nonetheless, federal authorities have repeatedly approved mining exploration there. Initial drilling would disrupt recreational opportunities and pollute groundwater. If sufficient ore deposits were found, the resulting 6,000 acre open pit mines and tailings ponds would be exponentially poorer.
This month, Cascade Forest Conservancy celebrates its fourth victory in 14 years in our ongoing fight to stop these developments. However, our work is not over yet – permits have been reissued following previous victories. We call on Congress to enact a permanent solution through the passage of mineral extraction, a provision that will prevent mining in the valley. In order to influence Congress, community participation is essential. Please sign the Conservancy’s petition requesting mineral extraction and attend an upcoming information session. Together we can make sure Mount St. Helens and the Green River Valley aren’t a place for a mine – forever.
Whitney is the executive director of the Cascade Forest Conservancy