Group Cheers Order to Stop Miningby Associated Press
Lewiston Tribune, September 17, 2003
LUCILE, Idaho -- A federal judge's preliminary order prohibiting further mining on Squaw Bar Placer in the main Salmon River just north of Riggins was credited Monday by conservationists with showing what individuals can do to benefit the river.
The family of Armando Mastagni secured the order that Idaho Rivers United said would not only spur cleanup of the mine but also "benefit the water quality and fisheries in the Salmon River."
U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge in mid-August ordered Lamar Burnett and others to cease mining the claim, holding that there was no evidence that they had a legal right of way over the Mastagni property to access the mine.
Lodge ordered the family to post a $10,000 bond to reimburse Burnett for losses if he eventually proves he had legal access and should have been allowed to mine.
Burnett, citing numerous legal transactions dating back over 20 years, claimed he had access under an agreement with a prior owner and through an agreement involving another mining company. But Lodge said the information provided by the Mastagni family contradicted those claims.
The mining operation had been a target of government regulators for years, but none of those efforts had forced the operation to cease.
Idaho Rivers United claimed that the mining operation has threatened salmon and steelhead runs and marred the scenic river bank for recreationists.
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