Environmental Cases

Gilt Edge Superfund Site

The Gilt Edge mine site in the Black Hills has been declared a superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. The mine is an open pit cyanide heap leach gold mine that encountered sulfidic ore and waste during mining.  The operator of the Mine became insolvent and abandoned the Mine to the State. The Mine was unreclaimed and included approximately 150 million gallons of acidic, heavy metal laden water in three open pits. The Mine continues to generate acid mine drainage.

EPA and the State Department of Environment and Natural Resources are currently conducting remedial actions on the Mine.  The Attorney General is currently working with DENR, the United States Department of Justice, and EPA in pursuing contribution claims against potentially responsible parties. 

Friends of Norbeck & Native Ecosystems Council v US Forest Serv, Rick Cables, State of SD, Jeff Vonk

Friends of the Norbeck and Native Ecosystems Council v. United States Forest Service, Rick Cables (Defendants) and State of South Dakota and Jeffrey Vonk (Intervenors)

The  federal Norbeck Preserve adjoins the state-owned Custer State park and private lands in the southern Black Hills and is heavily infested with mountain pine beetles. In 2010, the Civil Division intervened in federal court to support a U.S. Forest Service plan to thin trees and undertake other vegetative treatments in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. The thinning and other treatments will diminish the rate of mountain pine beetle infestation and will improve habitat for game animals and birds. The 2010 Norbeck case resulted in a favorable decision and treatments in the Norbeck Preserve are currently ongoing. In the meantime, the decision was appealed. In July  2011, the Civil Division filed its brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the ongoing Norbeck Project.