Ascot Prospecting Permits
In 2011, Ascot Resources USA, Inc., (Ascot) submitted two applications for hardrock "prospecting permits" encompassing approximately 900 acres of Mineral Survey lands (often referred to as the "Mt. Margaret Deposit") in the vicinity of Goat Mountain in northern Skamania County, Washington, within the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens Mining District.
The BLM worked in close coordination with the U.S. Forest Service's Gifford-Pinchot National Forest to process Ascot's prospecting permit applications. Following public scoping in February/March of 2012, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared that addresses the proposed exploration plan and reasonable alternatives. The EA was completed by June 29, 2012, and released for an extended 45-day public comment period ending on August 15, 2012. Based on the comments received and analysis needed to support Agency decisions, the EA was modified and accepted as a formal BLM administrative document on November 28, 2012.
Modifications focused on cultural information identified during government-to-government consultation with the Cowlitz Tribe; refinement of administrative Alternative 3 regarding scheduling of exploration activities to minimize impacts to wildlife and recreation concerns; balancing water use between on and off-site sources; emphasizing re-circulation and re-use of drilling fluids; monitoring the quality of existing water sources during drilling; appropriate abandonment of all drill holes; and enhancing appended figures to more clearly show permit and administrative boundaries. None of these modifications changed the scope of the EA.
On December 4, 2012, the USFS issued their Consent Decision and associated stipulations, Decision Notice, and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). Based on the EA and USFS' consent, the BLM completed and issued its Decision Record and Finding of No Significant Impact on December 20, 2012. The Gifford Pinchot Task Force subsequently appealed the decisions and the EA culminating with a filing for summary judgment before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to vacate same. On July 3, 2014, the Court granted the motions in part and denied them in part, and ordered the Plaintiff to prepare an appropriate Judgment consistent with the Court's Opinions and to confer with counsel for the Defendants (USFS and BLM) and Ascot.
Please visit the documents page to view the "Goat Mountain Hardrock Prospecting Permit Applications Environmental Assessment."
- Press Release (PDF)