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Yasha Aginsky: The mine’s a rip-off project

The other day, I opened up my mailbox to find, as you probably did, a piece of fancy propaganda from Rise Grass Valley urging us to return prepaid postcards to them to give to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to show our support for their mine.

Curious about the contradiction of an image on the cover of a riverbed covered by some kind of foamy gas accompanied by the words “The Science is Clear,” I read on, struck by the lack of verifiable science in this pamphlet and the reckless use of language.

“Green gold?” Do they mean the mine would be good for the environment? Who knows of even one mine that is “safe, modern, well-regulated and environmentally sound?”

They write that their “plan to reopen the mine is safe and responsible.” Their plan could be anything at all, but what about the mine itself? Resource extraction in a populated area is neither safe nor responsible.

They promise greater prosperity in the local economy. Is that because the profits from the gold they extract will be invested in our community rather than deposited into their investors’ bank accounts wherever they are? Where will the profits go?

“Good jobs?” Maybe they are referring to the estimated 312 mine employees they propose to hire, of whom they predict 205 will be recruited from current residents. Those jobs are estimated, not guaranteed, and “recruited” does not mean hired.

But do you want to work in a mine? Do you want your children to work in a mine? Is working underground in a mine shaft a “safe and satisfying career” with “exceptional opportunity”?

“Economic benefits?” How can they claim “new local spending of $50 million a year,” much less 300 jobs that it would create? What are those imaginary jobs and why only 300? What are they talking about?

When it comes to extracting minerals from the earth, what does “green-friendly” really mean? “Minimizing the impacts to neighbors?” Tell that to the real estate agent who tries to sell the ex-neighbors’ houses when they move away. Neighboring properties will lose their value.

With all the careful research recently cited in the articles in these pages, it is absurd to state that mining will have “no significant impacts on air, water or traffic,” and who is to say what ”significant“ means?

Of course, everyone who lives here may be impacted by the increased traffic, dust, noise, air and water pollution. Do you want to reduce the quality of our lives here even a “minimally, not significant” amount? I don’t. And for whose profit?

Disregard the gold miner nostalgia, the promise of riches and defeat this rip-off project. Let your supervisors know that you don’t support Rise Grass Valley, and send back those prepaid postcards marked “No Support!”

Yasha Aginsky is a documentary filmmaker and resident of Nevada City.


This opinion piece was originally published in The Union.


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