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John Vaughan: George Boardman May Need To Do Better Homework

Local resident, John Vaughan takes issue with a Union columnist's February 6 opinion piece about the Mine. George Boardman: Supervisors’ decision on reopening of the mine is just the beginning of the end.

This opinion piece was published in The Union.


In response to George Boardman’s February 6th column, it appears George is generalizing a bit too much without actually doing his homework.

If he had done that, Mr. Boardman might find that:

  • The EIR lists significant and unavoidable impacts…to noise, traffic, and aesthetics.

  • The EIR ignores dozens of expert opinions that question a long list of EIR conclusions and proposed mitigations.

  • The supposed benefits shown in the Economic Report are based completely on data provided by Rise.

  • Large parts of the data provided by Rise for the Economic Report do not stand up to even mild scrutiny.

  • The Economic Report’s inability to find conclusive evidence of negative impact on real estate values was the result of ignoring their own survey of licensed local realtors and instead relying on a non-standard analysis of three mines that bear zero resemblance to our community or situation.

  • The EIR conveniently forgot to include 2019 findings, provided to Rise by the EPA, whose test results show mine drain outflows into Wolf Creek with high levels of Arsenic, Barium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Lead, Manganese, Nickel, and Zinc…happening every day, right now…with no cleanup plan from Rise.

  • The jobs Rise brags about represent less than 0.6% of the County’s current employment, are 5-10 years away, and independent experts estimate that 58% (not 32%) of Rise’s workforce would be commuters from outside the county.

  • The new CEO is a part-time consultant with lots of experience in Mergers & Acquisitions at Mining companies but no apparent experience in day-to-day operations…which means that Mr. Mossman, convicted in Canada on 13 counts of dumping toxic waste into the environment, will likely oversee day-to-day operations.

  • The proposed well mitigations and well monitoring plan is a joke, based on old science with no financial plan to cover costs and protect homeowners, leaving people with no permanent water supply if anything goes wrong during the 80-year permit.

I could go on and on but maybe Mr. Boardman understands my point by now…Economic Reports and data provided by Rise are designed to sell a story, just like any other advertisement you see. Maybe those advertisements should be taken with a grain of salt.

Then, Mr. Boardman attacks the people who oppose the mine. Yes, oh my! Some of the opponents, including me, are retired. Does that also make Mr. Boardman, who certainly looks old enough to be retired, less valuable and his opinions less useful? Does being retired actually mean someone does not understand business and the need for jobs? Mr. Boardman might consider that a person’s long experience leads them to say, “We agree, that good paying jobs are needed…but what is the real cost and risk associated with this proposal?”

But I guess Mr. Boardman believes if you are retired you are not allowed to comment on jobs and economic growth. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Boardman should consider that the people opposed to the Mine include all age groups, many of whom have done their homework and clearly understand the high risks and low rewards, and actually care about the future of this community.

I agree with Mr. Boardman that Nevada County needs expansion and new business. It happens that the property Rise owns is already zoned for a Business & Industrial Park which could easily support hi-tech or any other “clean” business without the many risks associated with the Mine. I’ll also note that relying on “old standbys” is a very common business practice while waiting for the next opportunity that makes sense. Re-opening the Idaho-Maryland Mine on an 80-year permit vs. the catastrophic environmental impact and multi-multi-million cost of cleaning up any issues is not worth the risk and makes absolutely no sense.

I even agree that attracting new businesses to our County is a challenge, but Mr. Boardman’s implication that nothing is being done is misinformed. The County is making strong progress on removing some of the critical infrastructure barriers of the past, including better high-speed internet access and the availability of more workforce housing.

And finally, I completely disagree with Mr. Boardman’s innuendo that various people have a better idea for how to actually run government, despite their glaring lack of experience or any specifics about how they would accomplish cutting County salaries and expenses. Good luck with keeping the excellent workforce Nevada County already has if major cost cutting is your only plan.

For more information, see the Minewatch site at or attend the Board of Supervisors hearing on February 15th and February 16th.

John Vaughan, Grass Valley

Retired, 56-year resident of Nevada County


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