Support California Mining Regulations!

Please Attend the State Mining Board’s Workshop on May 9th in Riverside, CA to Support Responsible Mining Practices

The State Mining and Geology Board is holding a public hearing on possible revisions to backfill regulations that require companies to backfill their open pit mines once a mine has closed. These regulations ensure companies complete reclamation.

California currently has strict mining standards that place the responsibility for effective reclamation where it belongs:  on mining companies.   The mining industry would like to see these standards weakened or eliminated so it can expand industrial scale, open pit mines across the state, while avoiding expensive reclamation obligations.

Arial view of the Briggs Mine near Death Valley National Park



Prior to the adoption of the 2003 backfilling rule, most mines were abandoned with little or no effort to reclaim the land back to a healthy state. Since most of California’s mines are on public land, changes to these regulations could pose a serious threat to special places in the California desert and beyond, and open the door to more destructive open pit mining operations across the state.

Friends of the Inyo and our allies are working to make sure California’s mining laws stay strong. We need your help to send a strong loud and visible signal that California wants to maintain its status as a national leader on environmental protection.

Please submit comments to:

or mail to:

State Mining and Geology Board
801 K Street, MS 20-15
Sacramento, CA 95814
ATTN: Metallic Mine Backfill Regulations 


Please attend the State Mining and Geology Board workshop:

May 9th, 2018
9:30 am – 12:00 pm
California Tower
3737 Main Street, Victoria Room #205
Riverside, CA 92501

Even if you do not speak at the public meeting, your presence will be heard loud and clear as a voice of support for California’s special wild places.

Here are some talking points to use in your comments to the Mining Board:

    1. The state’s backfill regulations do not need to be amended or modified as California has some of the strongest regulations in the county and was the first state to adopt backfill regulations in 2003.
    2. California needs to continue to stand strong against the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks, which includes keeping our state’s strong environmental laws in place.
    3. Conglomerate Mesa, a wild area adjacent to Death Valley National Park, is a target for future gold mining- if the state’s backfill regulations are weakened the destruction of the mesa is much more likely.
    4. California’s public lands and special places should not be sacrificed in the interest of mining.

California is blessed with wonderful and scenic public lands across the Eastern Sierra and the California Desert! Thank you for opposing expanded open pit mining and the damage it will cause to our state’s landscapes, wildlife and recreational economy.  We need California to continue to lead the nation on environmental and public lands protections. Please tell others about the event and ask them to attend.  Together, we can stop the assault on California’s special public lands and wildlife.

 Leave a comment below or contact us with any questions or comments you may have.

Comments (4)

I drove to the Marigold Mine, east of Winnemucca, NV, an open pit cyanide heap leach mine operated by the Vancouver, BC corporation that owns the claims on Conglomerate Mesa last fall. It’s huge, several times larger than the Briggs Mine pictured here. I learned at the recent teach-in at Cerro Coso College on hard rock mining that a cyanide heap leach mine consumes 8 billion gallons of water per year. There is no source of water of this magnitude anywhere near Conglomerate Mesa. Our Supervisors should not approve any plan that puts such a huge strain on the limited water resources of southern Inyo county.

Michael Cleaver

Thank you for bringing up the water situation. Sources of freshwater and waste water disposal are a huge concern for mining Carlin type gold in Conglomerate Mesa. This is an important issue for all of us in the desert. Please contact me at if you have pictures or a story you would like to contribute to the campaign from your trip to the Marigold Mine.

I attended this workshop on 9MAY in Riverside, provided my information on the attendance in sheet, and placed a digital recorder on the table to record the meeting. After one attendee challenged the use of a digital recorder, there were no objections to being recorded. I’ll prepare a transcript over the next few days. Later I took a photo with my cell phone, which I forgot to put on silent, and an official with the board said I can’t do that. He was mistaken:

The Brown Act (California law)
PREAMBLE: Public commissions, boards, councils and other legislative bodies of local government agencies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. The people do not yield their sovereignty to the bodies that serve them. The people insist on remaining informed to retain control over the legislative bodies they have created. 54950 Ch. I

COPY OF RECORDING: Public may obtain a copy, at cost, of an existing tape recording made by the legislative body of its public sessions, and to listen to or view the body’s original tape on a tape recorder or viewing device provided by the agency. 54953.5 Ch. V
TAPING OR BROADCASTING: Meetings may be broadcast, audio-recorded or video-recorded so long as the activity does not constitute a disruption of the proceeding. 54953.5; Ch. V and 54953.6

CONDITIONS TO ATTENDANCE: Public may not be asked to register or identify themselves or to pay fees in order to attend public meetings. 54953.3; Ch. V and 54961

California Code, Government Code – GOV § 54953.5
(a) Any person attending an open and public meeting of a legislative body of a local agency shall have the right to record the proceedings with an audio or video recorder or a still or motion picture camera in the absence of a reasonable finding by the legislative body of the local agency that the recording cannot continue without noise, illumination, or obstruction of view that constitutes, or would constitute, a persistent disruption of the proceedings.
(b) Any audio or video recording of an open and public meeting made for whatever purpose by or at the direction of the local agency shall be subject to inspection pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250 ) of Division 7 of Title 1), but, notwithstanding Section 34090 , may be erased or destroyed 30 days after the recording.  Any inspection of an audio or video recording shall be provided without charge on equipment made available by the local agency.

California Code, Government Code – GOV § 54953.6
No legislative body of a local agency shall prohibit or otherwise restrict the broadcast of its open and public meetings in the absence of a reasonable finding that the broadcast cannot be accomplished without noise, illumination, or obstruction of view that would constitute a persistent disruption of the proceedings.

You can record and take pictures of any public meeting. Know your rights.

Michael Cleaver

Thank you for this in depth comment! Please send your audio recording to us ( or video recording of the meeting. We would love to get the public more involved with video, audio, or even transcripts.
Thanks again,

Comments are closed.