Cleanup Costs Emerging -- Kellogg, Idaho -- Environmentalists, Coeur d'Alene Tribe members and government attorneys are doing victory jigs over a federal court ruling regarding a North Idaho Superfund site. Even the mining companies seem fairly pleased with the outcome this time.
The Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the federal government have wrangled in court with two mining companies for more than a decade, arguing that Hecla and Asarco are responsible for pollution seeping from 64 million tons of mine tailings in the Silver Valley. Judge Edward Lodge recently ruled that the companies are liable for cleanup costs, as well as "natural resources damage."
Companies deemed responsible for pollution under Superfund law typically pay only for Environmental Protection Agency "response costs," which deal with issues that directly affect human health. Lodge's ruling that the mining companies caused damage to natural resources -- specifically water, soils, fish, tundra swans and vegetation -- is significant because it means the companies are financially responsible for those damages, too.
But according to Hecla representative Vicki Veltkamp, "Lodge ruled that overall natural resources damage is far less serious than had been portrayed (by the EPA and the tribe)." Lodge also decided that the two companies contributed to only 53 percent of the total tailings (the remaining 47 percent came from other mining operations) and therefore are responsible for a little more than half of the estimated $1.3 billion in damages.
In May, Lodge will put a final price tag on damages. The remaining cleanup costs will be covered by federal tax dollars and the state of Idaho.
-- Puanani Mench, High Country News
Shop for Charity -- SPOKANE -- The holiday season is here, and whether we love hitting the mall or not, we're bound to make at least one trip in the upcoming weeks. If you go to NorthTown Mall, the Spokane Valley Mall or Coeur d'Alene's Silver Lake Mall this Sunday, Nov. 16, from 7-10 pm, your shopping spree will benefit a local nonprofit. What's more, you'll find about 97 percent of the stores in these malls are offering great discounts during this special "Evening of Giving."
"We're really excited about this year's Evening of Giving," says Kim Hagerty, marketing manager at NorthTown Mall. "It's a great opportunity to work with the nonprofit groups in the city."
The $5 tickets will be available at the mall entrances, and the nonprofits will split the proceeds.
"This is the first time we've had this in Spokane," says Carol Snyder, director of development and communications for the Arc, a nonprofit that helps people with development disabilities. The Arc is one of more than 40 nonprofits involved in the project.
"It's an exciting opportunity to beat holiday crowds. Stores are offering outstanding discounts, and there will be door prizes every 15 minutes. They include small prizes, all the way up to a $300 diamond ring. The grand prize is a $500 shopping spree. The Valley Mall is offering three huge stockings stuffed with prizes."
After purchasing a ticket from a nonprofit, shoppers will receive wristbands at the mall entrances that qualify them for discounts and prizes.
Movie With Mark -- SPOKANE -- If you've been around here long, you'll remember Mark Rypien from his days at Shadle Park High School, at WSU, and as a Super Bowl-winning QB for the Washington Redskins. But it's for his efforts to help the Spokane Children's Museum that he is being awarded the Golden Hand award.
On Thursday, Nov. 20, Rypien will be hosting a very special movie night at the River Park Square AMC 20. On the screen will be one of his all-time favorite flicks -- but you'll have to be there to see which one it is.
Thursday will be all about raising funds for the Children's Museum's move to River Park Square, a project that has left the museum closed while all efforts are focused on raising the $660,000 needed to complete the move.
"We're really not sure when we can reopen. It depends on the fundraising," said Don Kardong, the museum's executive director, earlier this fall.
To help reach the funding goal, a citywide aluminum can drive will take place on Nov. 15. Cans will be collected in Riverfront Park and proceeds for their sale will also go to the museum.
The first annual Golden Hand Celebrity Film Fest is on Thursday, Nov. 20, beginning with a social hour featuring food and a no-host bar at 6 pm, an award presentation at 7 pm and Rypien's movie at 7:15 pm. Tickets: $50. Call 216-5832.