DLA Piper agrees to take on Red Lady Case
The Red Lady Coalition (RLC) has retained DLA Piper to represent them on a pro bono basis in opposing the “Lucky Jack” mine on Mt. Emmons.
The coalition says their commitment to work with RLC adds tremendous legal talent and political resources to RLC’s diverse, broad-based, collaborative group of individual members, and community and organizational partners from throughout the Gunnison Valley that have joined together to oppose development of the proposed molybdenum mine.
“We’re extremely excited to have DLA Piper representing and advising our coalition,” said Red Lady Coalition board president Bill Ronai. “We’ve built a powerful coalition to oppose the proposed dangerous and damaging mining operation. We have the will—and with DLA Piper’s legal and political help, also the resources—to fight against this development for as long as it takes.”
“The Red Lady sits amidst a pristine natural habitat that has been recognized by the National Historic Trust as a historic and recreational treasure in the Gunnison Valley,” said Lisa Dewey, pro bono partner at DLA Piper. “We took on this pro bono project because of the monumental environmental issues associated with operation of the proposed Luck Jack molybdenum mine. This mine has the potential to cause irreparable harm to this National Historic Site, and we are very pleased to be able to bring the substantial resources of our firm to bear in order to ensure that this does not happen. We will explore all appropriate avenues—both legal and political—to make sure that the Red Lady retains its character as one of the country’s treasured natural landmarks.”
Mt. Emmons, known regionally as “Red Lady,” and site of the proposed “Lucky Jack” molybdenum mine, rises from the edge of the town’s scenic National Historic District and is a favorite of skiers, sportsmen, environmentalists, naturalists and other recreationists. The site also straddles several headwater streams of the Gunnison River, including Coal Creek, the source of Crested Butte’s water supply, and Ohio and Carbon Creeks, which flow to Gunnison. RLC’s mission is the preservation of the Red Lady and its environs. This includes preserving the integrity of the Crested Butte Municipal water supply, the Ohio Creek Valley and the broader Gunnison River headwaters and the environmental and recreational assets of the community that substantially support the Gunnison Valley’s economy.
RLC says the Lucky Jack mine proposed by US Energy Corp. and Kobex Resources, is completely incompatible with protection of the environment and the best interests of community. The organization says the mining operation would jeopardize a large area of Gunnison River headwaters, including Coal Creek, Ohio Creek, Carbon Creek and the Slate River, and it would also jeopardize Crested Butte’s water quality and supply. The Coalition believes that the proposed overall mining operation would also likely have an adverse impact on wetlands areas, recreation areas for hiking, biking and hunting, as well as wildlife habitats and ranching.
In addition the Coalition says mining operations would create a blight on the majestic mountainscape that surrounds the Red Lady, and which is clearly visible from the Town of Crested Butte. Crested Butte was designated a National Historic District in 1974 and the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently named Crested Butte as one of its 2008 “Dozen Distinctive Destinations.”
DLA Piper, the world’s largest law firm with more than 3,700 lawyers, adds tremendous legal and political muscle to the RLC, strengthening the group’s ability to oppose the proposed Lucky Jack development on multiple fronts. DLA Piper’s work with RLC is expected to include the assistance of the firm’s highly regarded Regulatory and Legislative Affairs Group. This powerful bipartisan group includes former senate majority leader George Mitchell as well as former house majority leaders Dick Gephardt and Dick Armey. Combining vast public policy experience, extensive capacity in environmental litigation, land use and various other applicable disciplines, DLA Piper will help ensure that RLC’s case is presented credibly and effectively before Congress, the Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management, and other federal agencies. The firm will also advocate for RLC with the state, regional and local governments, and if needed, in federal and/or state courts. The DLA Piper team of volunteer pro bono lawyers, which is comprised of partners and associates from across the firm, will also utilize an array of strategies to support RLC’s goals, including local, regional and national public relations campaigns, educational initiatives and national and international media outreach.
DLA Piper is the largest law firm in the world, with 3,700 lawyers in 25 countries and 64 offices throughout the U.S., U.K., continental Europe, Middle East and Asia. The firm was recently described by the National Law Journal as “one of the most high-powered and high-profile lobbying shops in the nation’s capital
Former senate majority leader George J. Mitchell is chairman of DLA Piper.