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Peter N. Brewer: Supervisors, do not be hoodwinked by the dazzling but false claims by Rise Gold

This concerned resident asks County Supervisors to deny Rise Gold and instead focus on shepherding us into the 21st century with fitting and appropriate technology and infrastructure.


This opinion piece was originally published in The Union.

 

April 19, 2023


Dear Nevada County Supervisors and Planning Commissioners,


I write to you as a very concerned resident of Nevada County to implore you to reject the re-opening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine. I live on Banner Mountain (District 1) and I am terrified of the consequences not only to me and my property, but to the community as a whole, if this mining operation is allowed.


In a moment I will briefly summarize some of the significant reasons to reject the proposal, but you are no doubt familiar with those facts, so I wish to begin by something far more obvious and indisputable. That is, if you lie down with snakes you are going to get bit(ten). Rise, and its C.E.O., have a demonstrated track record of environmental carnage, broken contracts, and such. Rise Gold has never opened or operated a mine and has never made a profit. Their C.E.O.’s predecessor company polluted tribal waters, declared bankruptcy, and left responsibility for their cleanup to the Canadian citizens. Their C.E.O. is currently on trial on charges relating to toxic spills in current operations.


Why would anyone in their right mind consider doing business with persons or institutions that can so predictably be counted on to compromise public health and cause economic crises and environmental destruction?


The economic projections that Rise puts before you in support of their application are neither fact-based nor honest. They are, at most, happy-talk and unbounded optimism. Bear in mind that, “figures don’t lie, but liars often figure.” So is the case here.


Why would anyone consider exposing our community to the sacrifice of its character for the benefit of a Canadian company? The re-opening of the mine will cause significant and unavoidable impacts. The increased traffic (18 wheelers) and noise on Brunswick alone is reason enough to reject this proposal, and that traffic increase can neither be denied nor mitigated. The threats to water wells and air quality scream for denial of the application. You simply cannot pump 3.6 million gallons of polluted water every day for six months and another 1.2 million gallons per year for up to 80 years without creating health and environmental damages. The claim in the E.I.R. that this dewatering will not have significant impacts has to be recognized as the unmitigated horse pucky that it is.


Our county’s air quality already gets failing marks. How can this not be exacerbated by fugitive dust from continuous rock crushing, hauling, and compacting that will release asbestos and silica particles, in addition to the output from hundreds of diesel trucks each day. Again, the E.I.R. drops the ball here, calling these inpacts, “less than significant.”


Many residents, for miles around, will suffer reduced quality of life and diminished property values. The staggering amount of greenhouse gasses (more than 9000 metric tons annually) will contribute to our terminal problem of climate change – shame.


There is NO demonstrable need to extract our subterranean gold. There is sufficient gold already in vaults to satisfy the legitimate needs of generations to come. This proposal is only justified by the profit motives and greed of outsiders, untrustworthy outsiders at that.


As for the highly suspect predictions of economic benefits to our community, consider instead promoting high-speed, fiber-optic, Internet connectivity. Our area is a mecca for educated professionals fleeing major metropolitan areas to live in our bucolic paradise. But many of these people are working, or want to work, remotely, thus bringing economic benefits to our community with no negative impacts, environmental or otherwise. Why not support, instead, this area of economic growth that poses no downside?


Please do not be hoodwinked by the dazzling but false claims by Rise Gold. Please do the right thing as officials we elected or appointed to lead and protect us in an honest and exemplary manner. Please deny Rise Gold and instead focus on shepherding us into the 21st century with fitting and appropriate technology and infrastructure.


Thank you. Very truly yours, Peter N. Brewer

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