Lithium mine in Utah threatens Colorado River tributary

Feb 9, 2024

An Australian company is looking into mining lithium from underground brine near Green River, Utah. The company has also acquired rights to pull freshwater from the nearby Green River, a tributary of the Colorado River.

The company has been using old oil wells to test the amount of lithium in brine, a salty liquid deep beneath the ground. The area’s groundwater is rich in lithium from when it was a marine basin millions of years ago. There are different ways to extract lithium from the earth. In this case, lithium would be separated from saline water using chemicals.

Fresh water from the Green River would be used to wash the lithium. The company said almost all of this fresh water would be recycled and used again. But the Interior Department has raised concerns about these plans, since the aquifer and the river are connected, and the company has not studied how groundwater withdrawals might affect the Green River.

BLM announces influx of cash for ecosystem restoration

The Bureau of Land Management will use $41 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for ecosystem restoration. This funding will support 74 projects in 16 states, according to the agency.

Half of the funding will go toward BLM’s Restoration Landscapes, which will help address threats to wildlife, recreation visitors, and communities on public land. Around $6 million will go toward restoring and protecting prioritized sagebrush landscapes across four states—part of the Interior Department’s new Sagebrush Keystone Initiative. See more funding details here.

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Monarch butterfly numbers are down sharply at wintering areas in Mexico

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Quote of the day

We need to have a renewable energy transition, but maybe we shouldn’t be looking for these kinds of quick-fix energy solutions on a drought-stricken river.”

Lauren Wood, a third-generation resident of Green River, Utah

Picture This

trees reflected in swamp at sunset


Happy Birthday, @USFWS! We’re wild about you!

Thanks for helping to protect America’s stunning diversity of native fish, plants, wildlife and habitats for 153 years. Photo at Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana by John Corso


Feature image: Green River from Hardscrabble Hill; CanyonlandsNPS/Andrew Kuhn