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Bob Clark: Where is our city government on Rise Gold’s bid? Silence won’t cut it

Why isn't the Grass Valley City Council taking a more active role to protect our interests w/respect to the Idaho-Maryland Mine? Bob Clark points out the gaps and asks Grass Valley residents to send letters asking them to fulfill their elected responsibility. This is a great read, and if you're inspired, please email a letter to

Read in The Union.


Slowly, but surely local residents are becoming aware of the perils of the possible reopening of the Idaho Maryland Mine.

If you were to visit and simply start reading articles in their library, I can’t imagine anyone not opposing it. I know it has resulted in hundreds of letters, emails to the county, submissions to The Union, etc., stating reasons for opposition.

So far the county has pretty much just said to wait for the draft environmental impact report. Theses two issues should not be tied together.

So what is and should be the city of Grass Valley’s role in this? Is it simply to sit and wait for the county to decide our city’s fate? Do they really think that we will simply absolve them of any responsibility and blame it all on the county if it happens?

I thought the City Council was elected to work in our best interest; to protect us from things that can harm us, economically, environmentally, socially, etc. The mine certainly fits all of those!

The last time around with Emgold, it was the city’s job to approve or not approve the reopening. This time, the county has the responsibility to approve or not approve the application, and perhaps the city doesn’t want to tangle with them. That doesn’t make it right.

Have they forgotten that the Centennial site is barely outside the city limit and is part of the city’s sphere of influence and been part of the city’s plan.

Have they forgotten we’ve been through this mine thing before? How did that work out last time? When Emgold tried the same thing a few years ago, we lucked out. They ran out of money.

Would the city have approved it if they hadn’t? Before they ran back to Canada, did they clean up the toxic mess at the Centennial site? No. They owned it and the clean up job was theirs, permit or no permit. Did the city even attempt to make them do it? Surely the city could have at least taken ownership of the property or placed a lien. No, they just waved goodbye.

We all know that if Rise Gold doesn’t get their permit to open the mine, they are gone. Does anyone believe they would clean up Centennial before they went? Here’s a novel thought: Clean up the toxic mess, prove you will fulfill your responsibilities and then we might discuss a permit. Not until.

What could be any possible benefit to the city or county of approving any application before the cleanup is finished? All it would do is throw away any leverage to get it done.

Maybe the city is still as gullible as they were before when it comes to jobs. The last time they seemed to be enamored by the promise of hundreds of jobs from a ceramics plant converting mine waste into tile.

Never mind that it had never been done in the history of mining. Do they buy into Rise’s claims of jobs and economic benefits for the area? Hey, maybe they think they could get one of those $94,000-a-year apprentice jobs. Maybe they think our mom and pop shops will start selling drill bits or repairing rock crushers.

The county has declined so far to do an economic impact report. Does that mean the city shouldn’t? How about the city formally polling our local real estate agents and asking for their professional assessment of the mine reopening on local property values? One hundred percent of those who have been polled have told property owners that we would lose values amounting to tens of millions of dollars.

The county supervisors say they have to remain unbiased. The city sure doesn’t have to. How could they not have an extreme bias against the single biggest issue our city has had or might ever have that could damage our community and its residents more?

It’s time for us to force them to go on record! Now, before it’s too late. Maybe a few hundred emails and calls would get their attention even if their obvious responsibility doesn’t.

My wife tells me I expect too much from people to think things through logically. I ask, how else can you think and still face your neighbors, voters, and yourself? I don’t know all the rules, regulations, etc., and they really don’t matter. All I know is what you were elected to do. At least that’s why we cast our ballots.

Council members, we’re listening and waiting for you to fulfill your elected responsibility to us.

Bob Clark has lived in Grass Valley for more than 20 years.


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