Great Basin Resource Watch

at , Reno, 89503 United States

If Great Basin doesn't keep an eye on the mining companies, who will?


Great Basin Resource Watch

Reno , NV 89503
United States
Contact Phone
P: (775) 348-1986
Website
www.gbrw.org

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Meanwhile, at the Nevada Legislature, Friday April 10 was the last day proposed bills and resolutions had to pass out of committee or die. Three bills we were following died, and two didn't, both land- transfer-to-the-state proposals, AB408, known as the "Bundy Bill" and SJR1, the more serious proposal of the two. GBRW will continue to follow these (AB408 now has no teeth thank goodness), primarily because there will be no NEPA-like process for any of the lands that would pass to the state. Even a watered-down proposal could transfer million of acres to the state for disposal or whatever and what a party that will be for mining interests in Nevada. PLEASE keep your attention on SJR1 and use the simple online legislative facilities to send your comments in! The bills that died are: AB407 Regarding patented claims, it would have allowed mining companies like Comstock Mining in the Comstock to disregard local preferences when working their claims - would have been devasting to the communities up there. SB202 The anti-fracking bill regretably died, but at least it's a beginning in our state for more policy control of fracking. SB173 Would have revised provisions regarding mining reclamation in regards to pit lakes. Could have been a good thing...

Published on 2015-04-13 18:27:27 GMT

AB427 re Divine Rights of Mining Companies This state bill, just introduced, bill would prohibit the governing body of a local government from taking any action to restrict or prohibit the owner of a patented mine (one they own) from working that claim. We are deeply concerned about the probable consequences of this bill for communities in Nevada, both for the physical impact and the removal of local control it would effect for planning and the very right of local governments to protect the safety and health of its citizens. Please contact members of the Committee on Government Affairs, addresses below, who introduced it, expressing your opposition to this bill. Here are some talking points to include in your calls, letters and emails from Joe McCarthy of Silver City. The communities of the Comstock could possibly be ruined by this bill. 1. The provisions of AB 427 reduce the role of local government planning as it pertains to patented mining claims, unless the property owner is compensated for the "loss" caused by master planning, zoning and other purported "restrictions." 2. AB 427 diminishes the value of the "local control" planning process. 3. In Nevada, community planning has always been the cornerstone of community involvement by allowing local citizens to decide their communities' futures. 4. Planning at the local level is the citizens best and only opportunity to be heard. 5. This bill silences citizen input entirely. 6. With property rights come responsibilities to respect community standards, a simple way to define community development. 7. This bill removes fair play at the most basic of democratic principles. 8. It creates chaos within our communities, disrupts basic development plans and fosters distrust in our local governments to meet its obligations to protect our health and safety. 9. For 150 years, Nevada law has given property owners equal opportunities to develop their real estate holding while abiding by local consensus. 10. This bill throws fairness out the door by allowing patented mining claims to have special treatment based on the spurious premise that persons and/or corporations have a "right to mine" patented mining claims without interference. 11. Passage of this bill could have wide reaching ramifications for the Comstock communities. 12. This egregious reworking of commonsense planning principles raises the stakes for Nevada communities that have transitioned from mining ghost towns to prosperous communities. 13. The bill centers on giving credence to the notion that unfettered property rights are paramount. 14. Residential community members on the Comstock are shocked & frightened by the potential "power" that will be given to patented mining claims owners. 15. This "exemption" for local planning will be the slow deterioration of the communities of Gold Hill, Silver City and Virginia City. 16. The communities of Gold Hill, Silver City and Virginia City have ceased being mining towns. For more than a half a century, enlightened zoning on the Comstock has transformed old ghost towns into a flurry of residential and small commercial development. These land use designations are consistent with our vigorous community building, as we celebrated our history and promoted tourism. 17. It has taken the Comstock 50+ years to shed the facile, cavalier misconception that the Comstock is a mining district. 18. The Comstock has a significant number of patented mining claims. The owners of these claims haven’t uttered a word for 75+ years looking for “preferential” treatment. Why now? 19. Who is going to value the “loss” caused by a local government’s actions? With what revenues will the aggrieved patented mining claim owner be compensated? 20. This bill has Comstock Mining's fingerprints all over it. Why are we not surprised knowing how duplicitous Comstock Mining Inc has been since arriving on the Comstock. Please been respectful, use the facts and let the lawmakers know how important this issue is to you. Below are the members of the committee and their email addresses. Click the name to find the phone number. Assembly Government Affairs Committee emails: John.Ellison@asm.state.nv.us John.Moore@asm.state.nv.us Vicki.Dooling@asm.state.nv.us Shelly.Shelton@asm.state.nv.us Lynn.Stewart@asm.state.nv.us Glenn.Trowbridge@asm.state.nv.us, Stephen.Silberkraus@asm.state.nv.us Melissa.Woodbury@asm.state.nv.us Richard.Carrillo@asm.state.nv.us Edgar.Flores@asm.state.nv.us Amber.Joiner@asm.state.nv.us Harvey.Munford@asm.state.nv.us Dina.Neal@asm.state.nv.us Ellen.Spiegel@asm.state.nv.us

Published on 2015-03-27 17:40:41 GMT

BIG NEWS FOR CENTRAL NEVADA. LIU HAN WAS THE CHIEF FINANCING BEHIND THE PROPOSED MOLY MINE MT HOPE NEAR EUREKA. This mine project would use millions of gallons of precious Nevada water and is opposed by GBRW and many ranchers and farmers in the area. No word yet on how his death will effect the proposed project. "Described as running a mafia-style gang, mining tycoon Liu Han was executed in China on Monday. Liu, who was charged in 2014 along with dozens of other associates, was board chairman of Hanlong Group. In addition to mining the group had interests in electricity, energy, finance, real estate securities. Hanlong is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Liu was 48. Along with Liu, four others were executed: his brother Liu Wei, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei. A total of 34 other defendants were netted in the same investigation. The group received a mixture of sentences ranging from two years to life. Before Liu’s downfall last year, the tycoon put together a string of mining deals. He owned 14% of Australia Sundance Resources. The company had plans for an iron ore mine in central Africa. Liu also had a molybdenum project in Nevada, which was profiled by the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Liu, a little-known Chinese business mogul, is the primary financier for a $1.3 billion plan to blast the top off a hill called Mount Hope just north of Eureka to remove its lode of metal called molybdenum. Mount Hope, adjacent to the old Pony Express Trail in central Nevada, holds one of the world’s biggest undeveloped deposits of the silvery element moly, used to harden steel for advanced applications such as piping for nuclear-power plants. The Bureau of Land Management last month authorized the mine to operate, greenlighting a project that promises to make Mr. Liu—a 46-year-old who likes driving fast cars and making bold commodity bets—a powerful voice in global moly trade. The Nevada mining deal—along with a similar moly play by Mr. Liu in Australia—illustrates how a budding class of Chinese private investors suddenly has the wherewithal to upend entire sectors. The post Mining tycoon executed in China appeared first on MINING.com."

Published on 2015-02-13 16:30:33 GMT

BALD MOUNTAIN MINE DRAFT EIS - SAMPLE LETTER - DEADLINE OCT. 13 October 12, 2015 Ely District, Egan Field Office Atten: Stephanie Trujillo, Ely District Project Lead BLM_NV_EYDO_Barrick_Bald_EIS@blm.gov Re: Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Barrick Gold U.S Inc. proposed Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects Dear Ms Trujillo, I am concerned about the expansion of the Bald Mountain mine, and prefer no expansion, the No Action alternative. This mine has been sprawling wider and wider over the years and is having significant regional impacts. There are critical mule deer migration routes that the Bald Mountain mine cuts across, and pigmy rabbit and sage grouse habitat that is being affected as well. The mere construction of the roads is a major disturbance to any ecosystem, and chops up potentially important road-less areas. In terms of mitigating wildlife impacts the West Redbird Modification Alternative is the next best option. This alternative does provide a wider mule deer migration corridor, but the fact remains that the migration route is bisected and some stop over areas maybe lost completely. Critical to preservation of stop over locations along the migratory route are the seeps and springs in the region. Mine dewatering is expected to affect some of these as well and should be minimized. The proposed action is expected to remove about 43,000 acre-feet of water from the aquifer, and could draw groundwater away from a federally protected spring in violation of federal law. In fact the DEIS states that the likely source of water for the federally protected water right listed as HV-164 is the South Water Canyon Seep, which is in the 10 foot groundwater drawdown area. In general, I believe that the proposed action will cause unnecessary and undue degradation to the seeps and springs especially around the South Water Canyon Seep. The seeps and springs in this area are also very important to the mule deer migration route. It does seem that according to the analysis presented in the DEIS that the West Redbird Modification Alternative involves much less dewatering than the proposed action, on the order of 20,000 acre feet of watet. Again the West Redbird Alternative would be the next best choice after the no action alternative in terms of ground water depletion and impacts to seeps and springs. I am also concerned about how sage grouse populations will be affected. Especially in the South Operations Area that completely overlap Preliminary Priority Habitat including several leks near the project boundary. To my knowledge sage-grouse are extremely sensitive to the discrete mining disturbances, and thus resource extraction is completely incompatible with sage-grouse habitat. Given the sensitivity of sage grouse it is likely to expect that once the habitat is disturbed as a result of the mining exploration activities the birds will not return resulting in an indefinite loss of habitat. The memo of understanding (MOU) between United States Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management-Nevada State Office, United States Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Barrick Gold of North America, Newmont Mining Corporation, and Other Companies outlines a procedure for sage-grouse protection. However, if mitigation appears to be infeasible the MOU offers habitat transfer options. I am concerned that this method is unproven. Before the BLM agrees to allow habitat destruction from mining operations there needs to be a test for this approach to assure that sage-grouse populations will be protected. In addition, what will be the status of this MOU if the mine property is sold to another company, which appears to be currently in progress. The north end of the proposed operations is also very close to the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and BLM needs to assure that the special character of the refuge is not negatively affected by mining operations, including ambient light and noise. Mine dewatersing is anticipated to only slightly draw water that would other wise go to the refuge, and not deemed by BLM as a significant impact. However, the Great basin has been in a very dry period and this could continue for some time, so BLM should assure that the refuge is receiving sufficient recharge. The DEIS needs to include a fugitive mercury emission analysis. The mercury content of various potential source of fugitive mercury needs to be determined and an estimate made of fugitive emissions. In those cases where open pits are backfilled at least partially to avoid a pit lake there should be a plan for ground water monitoring around those open pit sites to assure that groundwater is not degraded, which is entirely possible if the backfilling is not judiciously. In conclusion, I support the no action first and then the West Redbird Alternative.

Published on 2015-10-12 16:52:42 GMT

BALD MOUNTAIN MINE DRAFT EIS - COMMENTS NEEDED Barrick Gold's proposed expansion is just south of Ruby Lake in White Pine County in Eastern Nevada. Besides disturbing nearly 7,000 acres of BLM land i.e. public land, the Proposed Alternative would destroy or disturb many acres of critical mule dear winter habitat and mule deer migration route, dewater multiple springs and disrupt threatened sage-grouse priority habitat. The best alternative is the Western Redbird Modification Alternative. The deadline for commenting was extended to October 13. PLEASE COMMENT! The documents are at http://on.doi.gov/14R9rZ8

Published on 2015-10-06 20:20:23 GMT

MIning interests and Elko County filing lawsuits against the decision to NOT list the Sage Grouse - they don't like the Land Use Plan Amendments (LUPAS) that go with the decision: AEMA PRESS RELEASE: Sage-Grouse Land Use Plans Amendments – An Epic Land Grab September 22, 2015 Categories: Sage Grouse IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2015 SAGE GROUSE LAND USE PLANS AMENDMENTS: AN EPIC LAND GRAB Federal “Not Warranted” Decision Comes at a Price Too High While the American Exploration & Mining Association (AEMA) applauds the decision not to list the Greater Sage-Grouse as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, the Land Use Plan Amendments (LUPAs) extract a price too high. “It is disappointing that the collective efforts of the western states were rejected in favor of draconian land use restrictions and mineral withdrawals. The ‘not warranted’ determination is proof that the state and local plans, coupled with private conservation efforts are working.” said Laura Skaer, AEMA Executive Director. “We call on Secretary Jewell to explain why the states’ Sage-Grouse conservation plans were rejected in favor of the federal LUPAs, especially in view of the fact the Department of the Interior (DOI) reached a ‘not warranted’ decision without them.” The lek buffers, disturbance caps, travel and land use restrictions, and recommended mineral withdrawals in the LUPAs will have a devastating impact on access to public lands, the economies of the western states, and the ability of our Nation to produce the strategic and critical minerals required for national defense, manufacturing and economic prosperity. “We have long thought this effort was more about ‘stop doing that’ than conserving sage-grouse and its habitat. The federal LUPAs prove we were right,” concluded Skaer.