Black Hills Clean Water Alliance files lawsuit against US Forest Service
The Black Hills Clean Water Alliance has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service for allegedly withholding information that was requested under the Freedom of Information Act in December of 2018. The information that was requested is a variety of documents and communications regarding gold-related activities in the Black Hills.
The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1967 and requires that federal government agencies provide information to the public about government activities, including in situations like the one here in the Black Hills, where the Forest Service is set to consider four gold exploration permits. According to the Act, the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture were supposed to expedite providing the information that Black Hills Clean Water Alliance requested – no later than twenty working days after the request was made. Black Hills Clean Water Alliance appealed the agencies’ failure to provide the documents in May of 2019, and the Forest Service and Department of Agriculture have not responded to that appeal. The Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture.
The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota to enforce the Freedom of Information Act, to order the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service to find and provide all relevant records to Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, and to pay the Alliance’s attorneys’ fees.
The civil action lawsuit is attached under “Related Documents” to the right of the story on a desktop. If you are viewing from a mobile device, you can see it below this story.