Neighbors worry about exploratory silica drilling on Lake Pend Oreille

Neighbors worry about exploratory silica drilling on Lake Pend Oreille
Proposed drilling site courtesy of Google Maps

A proposed drilling project has people living near Lake Pend Oreille in North Idaho concerned for the future of their environment.

Under the proposal, Missoula-based Pend Oreille Silica Inc. would drill two holes to a maximum of 200 feet deep, on the Southeast end of Lake Pend Oreille in Bonner county.

The proposal, called The Green Mountain Exploratory Drilling Project, would use an area located within the Sand Creek-Lake Pend Oreille watershed in the Sandpoint Ranger District.

A scoping letter about the project explains, “Drilling will occur during two, eight-hour shifts per day during daylight hours only, except from September 18th thru November 5th … No winter operations are proposed.” More details on the proposal can be found here.

According to the Idaho Panhandle Forest Service, “All lands disturbed during the activities in this proposal would be reclaimed, and disturbed areas would be reseeded.”

Shoshana Cooper, public affairs officer for the Forest Service, tells The Bonner County Daily Bee, the agency has worked closely with the company on the proposal.

“This is a fairly standard proposal, and given that limited scope, we have no concerns,” she said.

Still, people living in the area worry what will come next if the exploratory drilling finds the silica it’s looking for.

For any drilling beyond the current proposal, the company would have to submit another proposal.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests will host a public meeting on Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Sandpoint Ranger District Office located at 1602 Ontario Street in Sandpoint.

The meeting will allow the public to learn and ask questions about the proposed project.

Information from:

Idaho Panhandle National Forests