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  • The Union | Don Rogers: Mine’s main ore is risk

    Want to know where things stand in the proposal to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine? The Union's newspaper's publisher sums it up. Don discusses what the community would gain compared to the risks it would assume if the mine was reopened. Here are a few excerpts. Read the full column in The Union. If Rise Gold continues on its titanic quest, the county supervisors eventually will have to consider the iceberg. I realized this recently while one of the opponents of the proposal to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine, John Vaughan, took me through a critique of the company’s sunny sales pitch about jobs and all those millions of dollars surely rippling outward from an operating mine. The company’s early pattern is to exaggerate benefits, as the opponents’ is to take the bleakest view. Meantime, the county awaits the results of its own economic study, due out anytime now. This will be the next step, the next run of the gantlet toward a decision, the next battle. I wonder whether real flesh-and-blood local supporters will finally come out of hiding to buttress the strongest case for the mine. If a boxing match, Round 1 was nearly a knockout for opponents, who rose in real numbers to decry the draft environmental impact report’s results with the county Planning Commission. But Rise still seems to be tottering along, and so the process continues as the CEO preps for perhaps his final criminal trial over his previous mine with the spill that went bankrupt and he abandoned in Canada. No jobs there in years. Buoyant factors for the community’s benefit are exclusively economic: jobs, tax revenue. Risk factors span economic, environmental, the gold business, quality of monitoring, regulatory enforcement, ability to clean up accidents, those wells, the history of the CEO, the company itself, the odds of reality proving modeling wrong. Some risks weigh heavier than others, of course, and elements such as heavy truck traffic around the mine, carbon emissions and impact on immediate neighbors are not risks but certainties. There might be some argument about promises to clean up a nearly century-old tailings heap and establishing a fire station at the mine, but are those benefits or simply what’s required? Which raises the question of what should be required of the mine owners to balance against the various risks inherent in the proposal. Given that, the prospects look far from unsinkable and the reward dubious for the real impact on just the neighbors, never mind the sheer weight of all the risks. Yes, iceberg fits.

  • Terry Lamphier: Mine our green, not our gold

    This "alternative use" proposal would use the existing mine tunnels as an emergency water source and reflects on the complex geology that could affect wells beyond the predicted area. This opinion piece was originally published in The Union. It is likely our community would survive another 80 years without a gold mine. We won’t survive that long without water, which is rapidly becoming the world’s new gold. Current climate trends and over-development increase the likelihood we will face water rationing, higher rates and increased pressure to build a new dam. Are there alternatives? According to Nevada County documents, the Idaho-Maryland Mine contains between 576 to 815 million gallons of water as well as ongoing mine inflows — all to be pumped and dumped by mine operators into a local creek after improving to “drinking water standards.” The inflow is “pass through” water from natural sources. Outflow would be less than inflow due to mine operations, I believe reducing Nevada Irrigation District’s currently available downstream draw and likely leading to higher water rates for NID customers. As the mine is part of the currently stable water table system, a severe drop in mine water levels is expected to affect local wells and may, as critics point out, affect wells far beyond the areas predicted by incomplete modeling and old records. The problem is our complex geology. Where influx water comes from is an open question. Well owners and the mine get water from cracks in bedrock that collect and transfer water — but it is only guesswork as to how far and wide these cracks extend, leading to questions as to how far well dewatering could occur. Here are a few more thoughts for consideration: ∎ A Sierra College geology teacher once said that Nevada County’s geology is some of the most complicated in the state, noting that the water outflow on the public spring on Bitney Springs Road likely originates at much higher elevations. ∎ Local fracturing includes an earthquake fault three miles west of Grass Valley, running from Lake Oroville to beyond Auburn. ∎ Opening up gold-containing fractures raises more water movement questions. While the North San Juan Siskon disaster involved different geology, the principle is the same. ∎ At a city of Grass Valley-hosted forum on water issues for the previous (Emgold) proposal, mine proponents maintained that mining operations would be below existing ground water tables, so wells would not be affected. When then asked about where mine water came from, the vague response referenced uncertain geology around Wolf Creek, raising the possibility of partial creek dewatering if the mine were drained. There may be a higher and better use for the mine. As we face the prospect of extended and possibly worsening drought for the foreseeable future, new water sources will have to be found. The mine could potentially serve as a supplemental or emergency water source. In some ways, mine water storage is little different than a new dam but without eminent domain, massive construction costs, ecological negatives, etc. Effects on local stream levels would be comparable to a dam’s varying stream flow impacts but on a smaller scale. As a supplement to existing supplies, this could offset the need for a new dam for years. Estimates of the mine’s water volume range from 1,767 to 2,501 acre/feet. At California’s typical annual household usage of one half to one acre feet, the mine holds enough water to serve 2,500 or more homes for one year, making it a potential alternative revenue source for mine owners. Drawn down in drought years and recharged in wet years, the mine water would be continually renewed at no cost beyond providing water to affected well owners. Even seasonal use is possible, as summer drawdowns would be eventually restored to Wolf Creek through our sewer system (minus evaporation from garden use, etc.). Truckee just bought water from PG&E for about $38/acre foot and urban users pay as much as $1,500 to $2,000/acre foot; some farm districts pay much more. Sale of mine water could generate anywhere from $67,000 to several million dollars and becomes a sustainable local water — and revenue and job — source beyond the mine’s predicted lifespan. Add in another profitable, clean, renewable and local job-producing opportunity for mine owners: a biomass plant. The Brunswick site was identified by Nevada County’s biomass research group as a possible biomass (logs, branches and brush) energy plant location. This is the place that recently had mountains of storm damage biomass — free energy — hauled away to a distant biomass plant. It’s time for local leadership to take climate change seriously. The mine site offers better — sustainable — options than extracting sort-sighted profit. Terry Lamphier lives in Grass Valley.

  • Earth Justice Ministries: A spiritual and moral perspective on reopening the mine

    Local nonprofit, Earth Justice Ministries, brings a spiritual and moral perspective to aesthetics, cumulative impacts, and the need to repair previous harm done. This opinion piece was originally published in The Union. Our organization, Earth Justice Ministries, is a local nonprofit that brings a spiritual and moral perspective to bear on issues of our day. We echo the concerns of everyone who is speaking out against the harmful effects that would come from reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine. Our organization signed on to the coalition statement critiquing the draft environmental impact report submitted for the mine. We fully support that statement. Our statement focused on what is listed in the report as “aesthetics,” the mine’s cumulative impacts, and the need to repair harm done. Aesthetics are downplayed as a concern in the report, but beauty is a value, as in “the beauty way” of the Navajo people. A beauty that touches the hearts and minds of people. It is that natural beauty of Nevada County that brought so many of us here, and that brings so many visitors — the sights, the sounds, the smells of this place — the taste and feel of clean water, the fish in the streams, the wildlife. People come here to experience the beauty, to experience a deeper reality that puts things in perspective. To many, the natural beauty here is like church, reconnecting us to what is most meaningful in life. The final environmental impact report must adequately list in detail the mine’s specific aesthetic impacts. The aesthetic value of this region may be classified as quality of life, especially in the vicinity of the mine. There would be more truck traffic, higher noise levels, and possibly vibration from blasting. The natural landscape would be buried beneath mine waste and paved industrial areas. The final report should honestly report that such aesthetic damage cannot be quantified or mitigated. As an organization concerned about environmental harm, we support the Nevada County Energy Action Plan, which calls for gradually reducing annual residential electric use by 12% in accordance with California state goals. Rise Gold’s projected electrical use would cancel out this goal and add significant carbon to the atmosphere. The California Air Resources Board 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan states: “Achieving no net additional increase in greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in no contribution to greenhouse gas impacts, is an appropriate overall objective for new development.” This should be our goal. The final environmental impact report must establish a net zero threshold for new greenhouse gas emissions from the project and declare that it has significant and unavoidable impacts. Mitigations cannot overcome the mine’s cumulative impacts. Those impacts would work together to decrease our quality of life by risking increased air and water pollution, dewatering wells, harming Wolf Creek, higher greenhouse gas emissions, injuring plants and animals, raising noise levels, damaging roads, and yes, wounding the beauty of this place. Even if Rise Gold’s proposed mitigations were implemented, monitored, and enforced for 80 years, such mitigation would only lesson harmful impacts, not eliminate them. The mine’s inevitably harmful impacts to our community are not acceptable at any level. Cumulative harm should be listed in the final environmental impact report as significant and unavoidable. There is still much damage to repair from the Gold Rush, including genocide committed against the Nisenan people and other nearby tribes. The earth and people were so damaged that the toxic legacy continues today. Healing from the past includes respecting the earth that gives us life, making reparations for harm done, restoring the land and air, and changing our ways so that we are in a right and good relationship with this place, its people and creatures. We cannot heal from the past if we continue adding to the harms by opening this mine. Guarionex Delgado, Brian Fry, Dianna Suarez, Sharon Delgado, Jonah Platt, Becky Gillespie, Michelle Montgomery and Josie Crawford sit on the board of Earth Justice Ministries.

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  • Stop The Idaho-Maryland Mine | MineWatch Nevada County

    Sign the Petition! Mining is our Past. Not Our Future. Join Us Protect our air, water, and quality of life. Stop the Idaho-Maryland Mine. Two-For-One donation Match! May is the perfect time to donate to help stop the mine. One of our generous donors has offered a match challenge. Through June 1, your tax-deductible donation to MineWatch campaign sponsor CEA Foundation will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. Can you help? Donate Rise Grass Valley, a junior mining company with a questionable background, wants to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Grass Valley, CA. why stop the mine? Residents and businesses from all walks of life know that p utting a toxic business in the middle of our beautiful community today is a really bad idea. The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is currently being reviewed by the community and our Nevada County Supervisors will vote on the proposal as early as 2022. ​ Here are our 8 top reasons . CEA Foundation exposes massive flaws in mine report Packed house at planning commission meeting Newsletter Archive More... Risks our Health SHOULDN'T TRUST RISE GOLD Pollutes our Air HURTS LOCALS Drains our Water WRECKS NEIGHBORHOODS Devours Power & HURTS Climate dumps mine waste Learn More Watch the presentation See more videos Take Action eNews 1. 2. 3. 4. Sign the Petition! Write a letter to your supervisor. Your comments to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors (BOS) can make a huge difference. Learn how. Show your opposition. Send an email to request a Yard sign | Pin TWO-for-one Donation match! One of our generous donors has offered a match challenge. Donate by June 1 and your donation will be doubled up to $10,000. All donations are tax deductible. Get a free pin Tell us where to send it Get a yard sign Please tell us your address $10 donation recommended Donate by June 1 FEATURED news ★ Greenhouse Gas Emissions Threshold - The Case For 'Net Zero' CEA Foundation President, Ralph Silberstein explains why GHG thresholds set in the draft environmental report are no longer relevant. To... ★ ‘Hung out to dry’: Well owners contend with Idaho-Maryland Mine report’s finding Want to know why people are so worried about impacts to wells and groundwater? This Union article is a must-read. By Shira Moolten Eric... Press Release: CEA Foundation Exposes Massive Flaws in Mine Report “This DEIR is riddled with errors, omissions, and legal flaws”, said Ralph Silberstein, President of CEA Foundation For Immediate... DEIR Comments - CEA Foundation - March 2022 Read comments prepared by experts, volunteers, and legal minds from CEA Foundation and its MineWatch coalition members about the Draft... ★ A close look at Rise Gold's Job Claims Local resident Katherine Popenuk did some homework on "average" mining salaries. They don't align with Rise Gold's promises. The... Idaho-Maryland Mine Mineral Rights Map Wondering where the Mine is? Are the mineral rights under your feet? Check out these helpful maps. General map Parcels in the vicinity of... Don Rogers: Rise’s messaging less than golden The editor of the Grass Valley Union newspaper criticizes Rise Gold's sleazy marketing and underscores their CEO's questionable past. By... ★ Rise Gold Shouldn’t Be Trusted. Here’s Why. Rise Gold CEO Ben Mossman's prior company polluted tribal waters, went bankrupt, and left Canadians with a bill to pay. Mossman is still... READY TO LEARN MORE? BROWSE our library. become a minewatcher Sign up for our newsletter to get updates and meeting invitations. Subscribe

  • Take Action |

    Take Action eNews 1. 2. 3. 4. Sign the Petition! Write a letter to your supervisor. Your comments to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors (BOS) can make a huge difference. Learn how. Show your opposition. Send an email to request a Yard sign | Pin TWO-for-one Donation match! One of our generous donors has offered a $10,000 match challenge. Donate by June 1 and your donation will be doubled. All donations are tax deductible. Get a free pin Tell us where to send it Get a yard sign Please tell us your address $10 donation recommended Donate by June 1 one stop action shop Donate Your donation helps with political advocacy, community education, and legal fees - including hiring the best legal experts from the highly respected environmental law firm, Shute, Mihaly, and Weinberger. Your donation goes to our sponsor, Community Environmental Advocates Foundation. Our tax ID is 94-3352465. Donate thank you for your support The approval process for the mine is regulated by California's Environment Quality Act (CEQA), making the whole effort a marathon, not a sprint. Here is a quick view of major milestones. For a detailed timeline, visit the Nevada County project page . July 2020 Jan thru Apr 2022 April thru summer Notice of Preparation open for Community Review Draft Environmental Impact Report open for Community Review County Review Community Comments - Will likely recirculate the Draft Environmental Impact Report Fall 2022 or later Nevada County Board of Supervisors makes a Decision County prepares separate economic impact report WE ARE HERE Learn how to help understand the process Listen to retired Capital Planner, Paul Schwartz, explain the timeline, process, and decision points for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The County is required to produce an environmental report per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). His DEIR Explainer presentation begins at 18:00 minutes >>> ​ View Nevada County's detailed project timeline chart here . Need quick access to our best links for sharing or next-step actions? Get a list of our favorites. become a minewatcher Join our newsletter for updates and monthly meeting invitations. Subscribe

  • Donate |

    Help stop the mine Donate MineWatch is a CEA Foundation campaign dedicated to stopping the reopening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Grass Valley, California. It is volunteer driven and funded by donations and grants. ​ Your tax-deductible contribution helps with political advocacy, community education, and legal fees - including hiring the best legal experts from the highly respected environmental law firm, Shute, Mihaly, and Weinberger. ​ Two-For-One Match! One of our generous donors has offered a match challenge to help stop the Idaho-Maryland Mine. Through June 1, 2022, all monetary donations made to CEA Foundation’s MineWatch campaign will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. That means a donation of $50 will automatically become $100. Community Environmental Advocates Foundation is a Nevada County-based nonprofit organization that works in collaboration with residents, businesses, and other nonprofits to provide analysis and advocacy on issues that impact our community. CEA Foundation's tax ID is 94-3352465. ​ thank you for your support become a minewatcher Join our newsletter for updates and monthly meeting invitations. Subscribe

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