Tsogo, a Mongolian apprentice river guide

I traveled to Mongolia this fall, to work with Mongolian environmental lawyers and try to catch big fish.

I had a great trip, but it was alarming to witness the mining frenzy that is hitting that country now.  The road from the airport into Ulaanbaatar is lined with billboards advertising trucking, hauling, drilling and other mining related services; people are talking eagerly about the Oyu Tolgoi mine, which is forecast to generate 30% of Mongolia’s GNP; and I could see mines from the air as I flew over Mongolia.

We are working with partners in Mongolia to help them prevent mining abuses and gain the capacity to play a strong role in charting a more sustainable future for Mongolia.  Attorneys Erdenechimeg Dashdorj and Bazarsad Nanjindorj traveled here to work with us last spring and I worked with them in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar.  Bazarsad plans to come here this winter for an ELAW Fellowship that will enable him to complete intensive English courses at the University of Oregon.  They are doing impressive work and want to gain skills and build capacity.

Our law and science teams are working closely with our Mongolian partners.  We are reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Oyu Tolgoi mine, helping track down health problems caused by a mining disaster in Khongor, and putting together a case to clean up Ulaanbaatar’s nasty air pollution.  The small corps of public interest environmental lawyers in Mongolia is doing great work under challenging conditions, and I am glad we can help.

For more about the fishing in Mongolia, read my recent article in the Eugene Weekly.

Bern Johnson
Executive Director