BLACK HILLS, SD – The Black Hills Clean Water Alliance has filed a lawsuit against the US Forest Service and the US Department of Agriculture in federal court.
The complaint alleges that the Forest Service and the USDA withheld “an undetermined number of pages” and failed to provide specific and detailed cases of exemptions following a FOIA request related to the exploratory drilling request by F3 Gold.
“The information is important not only because of the principle of transparent government, but it is mining proposals that threaten to have significant impacts on the forest, including on water quality, cultural resources, wildlife and others, ”Parsons added. “So while this case is about access to information, it’s really about making sure that any mining activity that takes place on the forest is done in a way that won’t cause permanent and irrevocable damage. . “
2,627 files were published and placed on the agencies’ websites, part of which was subsequently deleted and amended.
BHCWA says that after a FOIA appeal filed in March 2021 failed to resolve the issue, the only way to get a resolution was through court.
“Unfortunately, the only way to get the federal agency to provide the information necessary for citizens to have a full view of the forest proposals is to take legal action,” said Jeff Parsons, attorney for Black. Hills Clean Water Alliance. “If the agency does not comply with the freedom of information law, there really is no other alternative.”
At the time of writing this report, the US Forest Service was unable to comment on the pending litigation.
Click here for more information on F3 Gold’s exploratory drilling proposal.