Sierra Club: The Planet--1996
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The Planet
Long Live Yellowstone

President Clinton recently announced an agreement between his administration and Noranda, Inc. to halt the proposed New World Mine, located just a few miles north of Yellowstone National Park.

The fragile, high-altitude site is surrounded on three sides by wilderness areas and straddles three Yellowstone River watersheds, including a creek that flows directly into the national park and another draining into the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone, Wyoming's only wild and scenic river. It provides habitat for wildlife that roam from the park, is a travel route for the threatened grizzly bear and a popular recreation area. The agreement stops the Canadian conglomerate Noranda from ever developing this area, ensuring that the threats this mine posed to water and wildlife will be eliminated.

The agreement also turns over the lands once scheduled for mining to public ownership. In return, Noranda will receive $65 million in federal assets, of which approximately $22 million will be invested in reclaiming the site. "The victory is a testament to the hard work of a coalition of dedicated grassroots activists determined to protect our nation's first national park," said Sherm Janke, chair of the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club. "By mobilizing grassroots opposition and pursuing all legal options, we elevated the issue from local concern to presidential intervention."

While activists across the country worked to influence the agencies that were overseeing the development of the mine, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Crown Butte Minerals, Noranda's local subsidiary. A federal district court ruled that Noranda was liable for the damage and pollution on the site. This decision placed significant pressure on the corporation to participate in discussions to withdraw their proposal. To take action: Thank President Clinton for his leadership in protecting Yellowstone National Park from mining. Encourage him to continue to protect our environment when proposing a federal "land swap" for the New World properties and to lead the charge to reform the outdated 1872 Mining Law to ensure greater protection for all our public lands.


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