By Cameron Rasmusson
A pair of meetings over the next week will break down two issues of local concern: the exploratory drilling for silica near Lake Pend Oreille and the proposed second rail bridge over the lake.
The Idaho Panhandle National Forests will be hosting an informational meeting about the Green Mountain Exploratory Drilling Project Plan of Operations. The public meeting will be held tonight — Thursday, Feb. 8, from 6-8 p.m. — at the Sandpoint Ranger District Office, 1602 Ontario St. The meeting will allow the public to learn and ask questions about the proposed project.
The U.S. Forest Service cautions that the request, which will drill two holes to a combined depth of 200 feet and more accurately determine the level of silica at the site, will not necessarily lead to a mining operation. However, some members of the public worry that interest will follow should significant silica reserves be discovered. The proposed drilling also comes on the heels of a silicon smelter proposed near Newport.
Likewise, Idaho Conservation League is holding a meeting concerning the second rail bridge proposed for construction across Lake Pend Oreille. The meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 6-7 p.m. at Eichardt’s Pub, 212 Cedar St., and will address what the public can do to weigh in on the bridge proposal.