Local organization responds to draft mine report
The Community Environmental Advocates Foundation and MineWatch, a foundation-sponsored campaign, will submit a formal request to Nevada County asking it to extend the public comment period for the county’s recently released draft environmental impact report on the mining project. Idaho-Maryland CEA Foundation President Ralph Silberstein said Friday.
When the county’s draft RIE was released website this week, in addition to making the document available for review in a handful of locations, Nevada County staff said in a Press release this public comment on this has been invited for a 60-day period, which began on Tuesday and will end on March 4.
The CEA Foundation has publicly opposed the proposed reopening of the Idaho-Maryland mine, with Silberstein saying in September that the only safe approach to reopening the mine is to close it completely.
In response to the release of RIE’s draft, MineWatch posted on its website earlier this week that the campaign and “CEA Foundation allies worked to analyze past technical studies and are now digging into this report.” Additionally, the campaign said it and the CEA Foundation will “request a 90-day extension” to submit public comments.
“And one of the reasons is that the project is huge,” Silberstein said Friday, “there are hundreds of technical documents, thousands and thousands of pages, and it takes a long time to go through them.”
Silberstein said those reviewing recently released technical documents had “a lot of catching up to do” as they reviewed changes to versions of the documents released last year, adding that some were having issues accessing the draft. RIE due to power outages.
“It’s just a very complicated project, and it’s too important not to give people the opportunity to really understand what it means,” he said.
Rise Grass Valley, which is seeking to reopen the mine, said the benefits of the project outweigh the impacts.
“The results of the county’s independent study and project analysis speak for themselves; there is no significant impact on water quality, groundwater, air quality, or the natural environment,” wrote Ben Mossman, president of Rise Grass Valley.
MineWatch will host a community webinar at 6 p.m. on January 27, inviting the public to “join the coalition’s experts…to learn more about the content of the report and find inspiration to write your own comments and make your voice heard. by supervisors.
Silberstein said the webinar schedule was not finalized on Friday and did not specify at that time who would be speaking.
Following the publication of the draft RIE, according to Silberstein, those involved at the CEA Foundation and MineWatch began reviewing the updated technical documents asking whether particular areas of potential impact – such as sinks or pollution air – have been adequately addressed in the new versions.
He said, however, that the documents to be reviewed are voluminous and, at times, “highly technical,” meaning the effort cannot be completed overnight.
“So we have people in our group who have expertise in many of these areas, including hydrology, geology, chemistry, air, etc.,” he said. “And so, we are very fortunate to have so many qualified people supporting us, people who care about the mine and its impact on the community.
Commenting on the content of RIE’s project, Silberstein said: “I would like to note that the document also indicates that the environmentally superior alternative would be to abandon the project altogether.”
The draft RIE includes a section outlining four alternatives to the proposed Idaho-Maryland mine project, stating that an RIE “is necessary to identify the environmentally superior alternative among the range of reasonable alternatives that are being evaluated”, as well as to identify for a second – place the alternative if the “ecologically superior” choice is the “no project” alternative.
According to the document, “the no-project (no construction) alternative would be the environmentally superior alternative”, and the alternative identified as second after this is “elimination of the centenary industrial site”. The latter, the document states, would reduce the greatest number of project impacts while achieving a number of the project’s main objectives.
Asked about the goal of the upcoming webinar, Silberstein said, “We have thousands of concerned citizens who want to know what they can do to stop the mine, and so we plan to help them understand the process and provide advice on how to review the document and answer questions.
Victoria Penate is an editor for The Union. She can be contacted at [email protected]