Mining for Gold Gives Rise to a Permitting Dilemma

Amy J. Wildermuth, University of Pittsburgh School of Law


The issue is whether the wastewater discharge from a new gold mine should be required to comply with the new source performance standard established under § 306 of the Clean Water Act for this type of mine or whether the discharge qualifies as “fill material” under § 404. The difference is substantial: The applicable new source performance standard is zero discharge; the § 404 fill permit, on the other hand, allows the discharge of untreated wastewater into a pristine subalpine lake.