Federal agencies approve eastern Idaho phosphate mine plan
Mine will help meet national demand for phosphate-based fertilizer products
SODA SPRINGS, Idaho–The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management Idaho Falls District and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Caribou-Targhee National Forest are each releasing a record of decision approving the Husky 1 North Dry Ridge Mine and Reclamation Plan. These decisions will help address the national demand for phosphate-based fertilizer products; roughly 25% of domestically produced phosphate is mined in southeastern Idaho.
Today’s plan approvals will help maintain roughly 239 mining jobs, which provide $22 million in annual payroll, for approximately 15 years. The Husky 1 North Dry Ridge Mine will allow the applicant, Itafos Conda LLC, to continue operations as it transitions from the nearby Rasmussen Valley Mine. The decisions will result in the least impact to surface water and groundwater among the action alternatives considered.
“These approvals seek a balance between resource extraction and conservation while supporting high-paying jobs in the local community,” said Acting BLM Idaho Falls District Manager Todd Kuck. “Phosphate mining is critical to American food production and security, and this mine will be a boon to the region’s economy, providing local tax revenues and job opportunities. We are pleased to work with our partners at the Forest Service to see this project approved.”
“The decisions minimize impacts to the environment, support the regional economy, and provide an important resource that contributes to food security for the American people,” said Caribou-Targhee National Forest Supervisor Mel Bolling.
The BLM manages the minerals targeted by the Husky 1 North Dry Ridge phosphate mine; however, the proposed mine is located primarily on National Forest System lands within the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, approximately 16 miles northeast of Soda Springs. Due to the split management of the land and minerals, the records of decision approve the portions of the mine under each agency’s respective jurisdiction.
The BLM and USDA Forest Service worked together to analyze the effects of several alternatives developed as part of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. The agencies ultimately selected and combined components of the alternatives, resulting in decisions that will protect important resources, like clean water, while maximizing phosphate production.
The BLM decision approves the on-lease portions of the Mine and Reclamation Plan, as modified by the selected alternative, and recommends approval of the proposed enlargement of the lease by 559 acres. The USDA Forest Service decision selects an alternative that best provides for public access, and approves a slurry pipeline corridor relocation as well as special use authorizations for off-lease mine facilities.
Electronic copies of the documents are available on the BLM ePlanning site at: https://bit.ly/3KcVtrs and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=37878. For further information contact Wes Gilmer, BLM Pocatello Field Office, phone 208-478-6369; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.