Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

SCOTUS excerpt of the day

Posted by Rich Sweeney on January 14, 2009

From the inbox, via Earthjustice:

We thought you might be interested in the following excerpt from the transcripts from yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court Hearing.  All agree that the water pollution permit that the mining company Coeur Alaska, Inc. and the state of Alaska is seeking is in clear violation of the Clean Water Act and that the tailing, fill or otherwise, would kill nearly all life in the lake.

Even the mining company’s attorney Ted Olson admits this, as recorded in the official transcript from yesterday’s hearing.  From the court transcript, dialogue between Ted Olson, attorney for Coeur Alaska Inc. and Justice Souter:

MR. OLSON: And what’s being put in this settling area, this lake, is the sand, which is the same consistency of the bottom of the lake. It’s inert material. It does not changing the chemical composition. It is not hurting the water quality of the lake.

JUSTICE SOUTER: But it’s going to kill every living creature in the lake, right?

MR. OLSON: Putting sand or rocks -

JUSTICE SOUTERWait a minute. It is going to kill everything in the lake.

MR. OLSON: Yes, it is, Justice Souter.

The above statements from Attorney Ted Olson, representing Coeur Alaska Inc. is an open admission that the dumping of the mine waste into the lake would “kill everything.”

The full court transcript is available at the following URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/07-984.pdf

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