Bryan Hatchell

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28 Jul: We Need Your Help: Imminent Threat to Conglomerate Mesa

We Need Your Help: Imminent Threat to Conglomerate Mesa *Update: Double your donation An anonymous donor has offered to match the next $10,000 in donations. Your donation will be doubled and your support will go twice as far. Click the image above or scroll to the bottom of the page to make a donation today. The Threat We’ve Been Watching For is Here. A Canadian mining company, K2 Gold, recently took over the Conglomerate Mesa gold exploration plan. Although helicopter access at seven drill sites is currently permitted, K2 clearly has bigger plans. They have now proposed drilling 30 additional sites…

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13 Jul: Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Draft Plan Environmental Assessment

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Draft Plan Environmental Assessment Make your vision for the future of the Alabama Hills heard! On July 8th the Bishop BLM Field Office released the Alabama Hills Draft Plan Environmental Assessment (EA). We are now in an active 30-day comment period that ends August 8th, 2020. In the month of July, there will be two virtual meetings where those interested can ask questions about the EA and share their insights. The virtual meetings will be held on the following dates. Friends of the Inyo will attend these meetings and work the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group…

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06 Jul: K2 Gold is Coming for Conglomerate Mesa

K2 Gold is Coming for Conglomerate Mesa While the world has slowed down due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the extractive mining industry has not, and we are seeing this right here in the California Desert and at Conglomerate Mesa. After SSR Mining abandoned the Conglomerate Mesa exploration project in 2018, many considered the mining threats dismissed and the area safe. Unfortunately, this is not the case.  This Summer, international mining giant K2 Gold took over the gold exploration plan for Conglomerate Mesa that permits seven drill locations accessed only by helicopter. Under this plan, no roads can be built….

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30 Mar: Premium Energy Granted Preliminary Permit for Haiwee Pumped Storage Project

FERC Issues Premium Energy A Preliminary Permit for Haiwee Pumped Storage Project In the time of COVID-19, there are still development threats on public lands trying to inch forward. On March 19th, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued LA-based company, Premium Energy a 2-year preliminary permit for a pumped storage project in the Haiwee area.  The preliminary permit gives Premium Energy priority placement in any future Haiwee Pumped storage project proposals for the duration of the permit. This allows Premium Energy to invest time and resources into feasibility studies and consultation with interested parties without the concern of another…

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04 Mar: Conglomerate Mesa and K2 Gold’s Lingering Exploration Interest

Conglomerate Mesa and K2 Gold’s Lingering Exploration Interest Since the approval of the environmental assessment that allows for helicopter access exploratory drilling at Conglomerate Mesa, Friends of the Inyo and the environmental community have closely monitored mining company’s interest in pursuing this project. In June 2019, Friends of the Inyo learned that a company called K2 Gold met with Inyo County and Conglomerate Mesa claimholders, Noel Cousins and Steven Van Ert to discuss possible exploration. In the months after this meeting, we did not receive any additional intel about K2 Gold and their exploration interests.  Things at the Mesa remained…

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03 Feb: Haiwee Geothermal Development Update

Haiwee Geothermal Development Update In January 2020 the BLM released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a project that will expand the Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area to 22,805 acres, almost triple in size. With this growth, BLM will change the management provisions of National Conservation Lands and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern to allow for geothermal energy production, infringing on Mojave ground squirrel populations, sacred tribal sites, desert tortoise land and more. Part of the leasing area is proposed to expand into a Development Focus Area (DFA) which was established by the DRECP. Friends of the Inyo is pushing…

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03 Feb: Panamint Valley Lithium Update & Monitoring Opportunity

Panamint Valley Lithium Update & Monitoring Opportunity Update Lithium exploration in Panamint Valley has been upheld through all levels of the NEPA process is set to move forward. All the proponent, Battery Minerals Inc., has to do is put a bond down with the BLM and they can begin drilling. It is tough to know when they will initiate exploration but in the meantime, we have a great opportunity for motivated environmentalists and volunteers to help us monitor the Panamint Valley project site. What is monitoring? In this case, monitoring is as simple as taking pictures of the drill sites…

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03 Dec: Action Alert: Alabama Hills Scoping

Action Alert: Alabama Hills Management Plan Scoping On the heels of the designation of the Alabama Hill National Scenic Area, the BLM will begin building out an Implementation Plan that will guide the future of this beloved piece of public land outside of Lone Pine. As stated in the legislation that designated the National Scenic Area in March of 2019, the BLM must “develop a comprehensive plan for the long-term management of the Scenic Area”. Management plan development under the National Environmental Policy Act begins with a process called “scoping.” Scoping allows the public and all interested parties to provide…

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03 Dec: Comment Letter on Haiwee Pumped Storage Project

Comment Letter on Haiwee Pumped Storage Submitted Towards the end of November, Friends of the Inyo submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on L.A area company, Premium Energy’s application for a preliminary permit to examine the Haiwee area for its “pumped storage” capabilities. Simply put, pumped storage is a type of energy storage that involves two reservoirs, one at a higher elevation and one at a lower elevation. When energy is cheap, water is pumped uphill to the higher reservoir for storage. When demand is higher and energy is more expensive, it is sent downhill and sold…

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04 Oct: 25th Anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act

25th Anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act This October, Friends of the Inyo and folks across the California desert are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA), the act that established Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and 69 wilderness areas. The CDPA created a collective of protected lands that draws millions of visitors from all over the world each year, driving local economies and creating jobs. These protected lands are the backbone of our tourism economy, provide military security, and make this region a great place to live and…