Communities Debate Potential Mine Near Mt. St. Helens
The U.S. Forest Service has permitted exploratory drilling in Washington's Green River Valley, near Mount St. Helens, after Canadian company Ascot Resources proposed drilling over 900 acres to determine whether the area holds enough gold and copper to warrant a full mine.
In an area that has lost employment opportunities from a declining logging industry, the potential mine has support. But the location is also one of the Wilderness Society's 15 places in the U.S. deemed "too wild to drill," and environmentalists say that an open-pit mining operation could pollute drinking water and threaten steelhead. One advocate suggested to Northwest Public Radio that looking to mining for renewed prosperity could also preclude an alternative economic future in outdoor recreation.