The CENTER for SCIENCE in PUBLIC PARTICIPATION provides training and technical advice to grassroots groups on water pollution and natural resource issues, especially those related to mining. CSP2 seeks to focus the debate on factual issues, as brought to light by its technical analyses, and whenever possible to seek consensus and win-win solutions. CSP2 also performs policy related work with federal, state and tribal regulatory agencies on the implementation of water quality, waste disposal, and mining reclamation regulations.

Why was CSP2 Formed?

CSP2 was organized in 1997 to provide technical assistance to public interest groups on issues related to mining and water quality. The Center has a staff of seasoned professionals with experience from the mining industry, academia, and government.

Technical support is often needed by grassroots groups and tribal governments in several areas – for example, presenting technical arguments to the state and federal agencies that have permit authority over large industrial and natural resource development projects. Providing this support in a timely manner can be critical to influencing a fast moving development proposal. Because experts are not readily available, groups must often use whatever volunteer technical assistance is available locally; or rely on technical consultants that, if available, are expensive. In addition, because of the very close relationship between the mining industry, its technical consultants, and the academic community, it is very difficult for non-profit groups to gain access to technical and financial expertise on mining. CSP2 is in a unique position to provide this service to the non-profit community.

The Center is now providing technical support to groups in the United States and Canada, with a limited amount of international work. CSP2 has technical professionals located in Montana and British Columbia. The Center has recently provided support to groups in Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon, and Labrador.

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Organizational Focus

The technical and policy focus of CSP2 is on:

· the environmental effects of water quality contamination related to metals and other toxins associated with mining;

· the application of new mine design and effluent treatment technologies that significantly lessen the environmental impact of discharges from mines;

· the reclamation of current and abandoned mines; and,

· the disposal of toxic wastes and low level hazardous wastes.

Approximately 80% of the Center’s effort is devoted to direct support of grassroots groups in their project efforts, including visits to these projects in the field, meetings with regulators and developers on behalf of the clients, and providing research and technical support to groups involved with the Alaskans for Responsible Mining, the Western Mining Reform Campaign, and the International Mining Campaign.. A partial list of present clients include: Fort Belknap Tribal Council, Harlem, Montana; Innu Nation, Sheshatshiu, Labrador; Tr´ondëk Hwech’in Nation, Dawson City, Yukon; Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Juneau, Alaska; Idaho Conservation League, Boise, Idaho; Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Bozeman, Montana; and, Mineral Policy Center, Washington, D.C.

The remaining 20% of the Center’s efforts are devoted to policy-oriented education for the public, tribal, state and federal regulators, and for industry. Regulators, and the industries they regulate, often lack an understanding of the perspectives that public interest groups bring to the public debates surrounding development proposals and concerns for environmental degradation. CSP2 works with regulatory agencies and industry to explain not only the policy interests of the public interest groups it represents, but also the scientific and technical justification that drives these policy positions. CSP2 also spends a limited amount of time in direct public education on the environmental concerns of resource development by participating in panel discussions and lectures at colleges, high schools, grade schools, and service organizations.