ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two statewide environmental groups pledged yesterday to fight a U.S. Forest Service recommendation that a company be allowed to probe the Mark Twain National Forest for lead, pressing with the state’s top law enforcer that the pristine, public land be left alone.
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said his office was weighing its legal options to safeguard the forest he called "an area of the state that’s as clean, pretty and natural as any we’ve got."
By prospecting the 8,756-acre project area near Viburnum and Bunker about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis, Doe Run spokeswoman Barb Shepard said, the company looks only to find additional lead at its existing mines
Doe Run wants seven prospecting permits to initially drill 19 holes, with permission to ultimately drill as many as 232. The permits - spanning two years, with possible four-year extensions - would bar Doe Run from drilling on slopes greater than 35 percent, require it to restore roads after drilling ends and keep drilling residue from reaching streams or sinkholes.
All lead produced in Missouri - 80 percent of the nation’s production - comes from the Viburnum Trend, a 40-mile strip of lead ore and the world’s largest known concentration of the mineral galena, or lead sulfide.