Enforcement is a cornerstone of environmental protection, central to achieving our goals of clean water. Rogue Riverkeeper's enforcement oversight and litigation are designed to ensure that our nation's water quality laws are not ignored, whether by the polluters themselves or by those agencies charged with protecting our rivers.
necessary, Rogue Riverkeeper goes to court to ensure activities that impact our streams are adhering to the Clean Water
Act and other laws. Please visit this page frequently for updates on all our cases and campaigns.
Mine: In 2009, we sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue under the Clean
Water Act to the Benton Mine, which is located on a tributary of the Lower Wild
and Scenic Rogue River and was the largest operating underground gold mine in Oregon. The mine operators had filled in a
creek to use as a sludge pond and had been out of compliance with their
Clean Water Act permits for more than a decade. The State of Oregon shut
down the mine prior to Rogue Riverkeeper filing suit due to other
illegal problems at the site. The owners are looking for new operators to re-open the mine.
Rogue navigability: Protecting public rights to access Oregon’s navigable rivers and streams is an important piece of clean water advocacy. In 2008, Rogue Riverkeeper joined Northwest Steelheaders and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center by intervening in support of the state of Oregon in their navigability determination concerning an 89-mile stretch of the stunningly beautiful Rogue River. Click here for a helpful background factsheet developed by the Oregon Department of State Lands. Thanks to Portland attorney Thane Tienson for representing us in this matter.
Mining on the Wild and Scenic Chetco: A Seattle-based developer bought
mining claims on approximately 24 miles of the Wild and Scenic Chetco River
with plans to helicopter people in to suction dredge this epic river for
gold. The developer has filed applications with the Forest Service to
mine and we are in close contact with state and federal agencies to
ensure they are proceeding in accordance with all environmental laws.
Dredging Permit: In 2010, DEQ released a Clean Water Act permit
for suction dredging in Oregon. This general permit, known as “700PM,” is too weak to protect water quality and fish from the impacts
of suction dredging. We commented on the draft and with the Northwest
Environmental Defense Center, filed suit against the final permit for
its failure to adequately protect aquatic resources. We are being
represented by the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center.
Sucker Creek Mining: This salmon stronghold in the Illinois sub-basin
has suffered from historic mining impacts and continues to be a center
of mining activity in the Rogue Basin. In 2009, Clifford Tracy was
arrested, and later convicted, for illegally mining in Sucker Creek on
the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. In 2010, we filed suit against
another miner for harming the Sucker Creek floodplain and critical
habitat for Coho salmon without requisite Clean Water Act permits. We are being
represented by Crag Law Center and Bahr Law Offices.
LNG development: The Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector Liquefied Natural Gas
(LNG) project would build an import facility in Coos Bay and a 235-mile
pipeline to California. The pipeline would cross 379 waterbodies in the
Coos, Coquille, Umpqua, Rogue and Klamath watersheds and harm dozens of
threatened species including Coho salmon. We are prepared to file suit
against federal approval of this project and are engaged in various
state and federal permitting processes. We are being represented by the Western Environmental Law Center.
Brophy development: Riverside development has a variety of aquatic impacts, especially when there is no riparian ordinance in place, as is the case in the town of Shady Cove in the Upper Rogue. In 2009, a developer acquired one of the last
tracks of undeveloped riverside property in Shady Cove that
was zoned public and intended as a public park, but filed a land
use application to re-zone the property and build
riverfront homes. Rogue Riverkeeper, alongside Rogue Flyfishers and
individual residents of Shady Cove, testified regarding the rezoning
application for the "Brophy" property, and flagged problems with various state and federal laws.
The Shady Cove City Council voted against the land use application
request in December 2010 and the developer filed an appeal to Oregon’s
Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). Rogue Riverkeeper and Rogue Flyfishers
intervened in the LUBA appeal on behalf of the City of Shady Cove to protect the values of the Rogue River and its riparian resources. We are
being represented by Jan Wilson of the Western Environmental Law Center.
Gravel mining: Rogue Riverkeeper is engaged in the Regional General Permit (RGP) for gravel mining in the Chetco River and is preparing for the same RGP process for the Rogue Basin in 2011 and 2012. Individual gravel mining operations continue to pose threats to the Rogue estuary, including Tidewater’s Mill Site upstream from Gold Beach. Rogue Riverkeeper is engaged in permitting processes at the county, state and federal level to ensure these operations are minimizing aquatic impacts.