Environmental Impact Statements in the Mining Industry
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The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is one of our nation's most important and far reaching environmental laws, requiring federal agencies to consider and disclose environmental impacts of proposed actions. Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) are the most rigorous level of NEPA compliance, and apply to a wide range of federally funded or authorized projects. A typical EIS may contain hundreds of proposed mitigation measures, but no requirement for follow up monitoring of those measures. Absent such requirements, there is often little assurance that mitigation measures have been carried out as proposed. This research uses Central Idaho's Thompson Creek Mine as a case study to quantitatively examine mitigation measures as they have been proposed within two Environmental Impact Statements, versus how they have been carried out over thirty years of operation. Documentation of mitigation measures was obtained through analysis of state and federal agency reports, and interviews with agency personnel, Thompson Creek Mine employees, and local conservation group representatives.