Environmental Groups say
by Rocky Barker
Two environmental groups urged state and federal agencies to investigate gravel mining operations within the Salmon River channel.
The Idaho Conservation League and Trout Unlimited called on the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA-Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate potential violations of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
Images obtained by the environmental groups show heavy equipment and earth-moving activity in the river channel near White Bird.
"There are plenty of places to mine gravel in Idaho without risking one of Idaho's prized gems, the Salmon River," said Jonathan Oppenheimer, Senior Conservation Associate with the Idaho Conservation League.
Oppenheimer said visits to the site and documents obtained under the Idaho Open Records Act show the Camas Gravel Co. of Grangeville is operating without appropriate permits and is impacting water quality in the Salmon River.
"Idahoans have worked hard to keep our water clean and maintain our precious steelhead and salmon runs," said Scott Stouder, western field director for Trout Unlimited in Pollock. "We cannot afford to have our regulators fall asleep at the wheel."
Tim Kaselmitter, part owner and manager of the company, said he was not prepared to comment until he learned more about the allegations. But the company does have a permit from the Idaho Department of Lands.
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