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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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ND makes the grade in a national report evaluating public school support; SCOTUS justices express free speech concerns about GOP-backed social media laws; NH "kids on campus" program boosts retention; proposed law bans hemp sales to Hoosiers younger than 21.

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The Supreme Court hears arguments on whether social media can restrict content. Biden advisors point to anti-democracy speeches at CPAC, and the President heads to the US-Mexico border appealing to voters on immigration and border issues.

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David meets Goliath in Idaho pesticide conflict, to win over Gen Z voters, candidates are encouraged to support renewable energy and rural America needs help from Congress to continue affordable internet programs.

Canadian Coal Mine Pollution Threatens North ID River

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Monday, May 15, 2023   

Pollution from Canadian mines is endangering one of Idaho's largest rivers.

Selenium and other pollutants from coal mines across the northern border are impacting fish species in the Kootenai River.

Environmental director for the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Genny Hoyle, said selenium is reducing or eliminating culturally important fish species.

"We have the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon," said Hoyle. "It's a federally listed species. We have burbot - also a culturally important fish species for food. So when these populations disappear, you're also impacting treaty rights."

Hoyle said past cross-border attempts to solve this issue have broken down. Selenium in the Kootenai River has raised concerns in North Idaho for decades.

Jennifer Ekstrom, the North Idaho Lakes conservation associate with the Idaho Conservation League, said mine operators in Canada need to install wastewater treatment facilities.

To compel them to do so, she said the International Joint Commission needs to be put to work.

Ekstrom said U.S. Sen. Jim Risch - R-Idaho - is in a key position to help this happen, as the highest ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

"The highest levels of government in the United States - the State Department and the EPA - they're calling for a referral to the International Joint Commission," said Ekstrom. "But having our Republican senator's support would go a long way to actually getting the referral to happen."

Hoyle noted that there could be more threats to the river because new mines are going through the permitting process across the border in British Columbia.

"The Kootenai Tribe isn't opposed to mining," said Hoyle. "We just would like them to clean up the pollution coming out of those mines."



Disclosure: Idaho Conservation League contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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