Policy

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…

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…

Panamint

27 Aug: Panamint Valley Lithium Mine Update

In April this year, Friends of the Inyo submitted comments on an Environmental Assessment proposing exploratory drilling for lithium in Panamint Valley. This project, lead by Battery Minerals Inc., proposes four drill sites north of Trona located off Ballarat Rd, Wingate Rd., and Indian Ranch Rd. In early August, much to the disappointment of Friends of the Inyo, the project was approved by the BLM. Battery Minerals Inc. can move forward with exploration operations. In our comments, we highlight a number of inadequacies in the environmental assessment. For example, it’s possible that the projects groundwater consumption will reduce water flows…

Radius

21 Aug: Bodie Hills Mining Threat Returns

  Canadian based Radius Gold has filed a preliminary application to begin gold mining exploration in the heart of the Bodie Hills near the Dry Lakes Plateau and Rough Creek drainage. This new proposal was recently brought before the Mono County Land Development Technical Advisory Committee for consideration.  The proposed exploration site sits on a split parcel of state leased mineral rights land and private land used for cattle ranching. You can access the “pre-application” to Mono County click here. Access for the exploration is within the BLM managed Bodie Wilderness Study Area (WSA). The WSA is subject to restrictions…

Little Lakes Valley by Jan Arendtsz_header

01 Aug: Defend NEPA on Forest Service Lands

  Friends of the Inyo and conservation groups around the county are fighting back against a terrible rule change that would fundamentally undermine the Forest Service’s NEPA policies and practices. Specifically, the proposed changes would create loopholes to increase the speed and scale of resource extraction, including logging and mining, while eliminating public awareness and input on up to 93% of proposed projects. Additionally, the Forest Service has proposed several new “categorical exclusions” that would allow the agency to move project planning behind closed doors by excluding the public from the decision-making process and eliminating any science-based review of impacts to water, wildlife, and recreation. Read…

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03 Jul: Bridgeport Ranger District seeks Public Comment on Grazing Proposal

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is considering reopening historic sheep allotments near Bridgeport, CA to cattle grazing. The project area covers roughly 20,000 acres of public land in the Cameron Canyon, Jordon Basin, Dunderburg, and Summer Meadows areas, west of highway 395 and south of the community of Bridgeport. Due to the listing of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in 1999 and the significant threat of disease transmission to wild sheep, domestic sheep grazing permits were cancelled in 2010 and 2014, respectively. After nearly a decade of recovery from grazing these meadows, uplands and riparian systems have been allowed to rest…

05 Apr: Action Alert: Lithium Mine in Panamint Valley

Proposed Lithium Mine in Panamint Valley What’s Happening? The BLM is considering allowing exploratory drilling project for lithium in Panamint Valley. Battery Mineral Resources, headquartered in Toronto, Canada proposes to drill four holes 2,000 feet deep on Panamint Lake just outside of the Surprise Canyon Wilderness. What Is Lithium? Lithium is used in a variety of renewable energy technologies such as the batteries that power electric vehicles. As the country begins to transition towards a more renewable and green economy, we need lithium to power the batteries that power our tech. Currently, the majority of the world’s lithium is produced…

Fire-prescribed fire forest understory

16 Nov: Devils Postpile Fire Management Plan

After 18 years the Devils Postpile National Monument is updating their Fire Management Plan. Managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and designated by presidential proclamation in 1911, the Monument protects 800 acres surrounded by the Inyo National Forest. 687 acres of the Monument is federally designated Wilderness. A new fire management plan is needed because the current management direction mandates full suppression and does not allow natural ignitions to be managed for ecosystem benefit. It also restricts fuels treatment projects to the northeastern 15% of the Monument that is not federally-designated Wilderness. Prior to 18th century fire suppression, lightning-ignited fire occurrence…

02 Oct: AB-1819 Passes State Senate

On August 29, 2018, legislation that would establish The California Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation (CA AB 1918) passed the State Senate. The bill passed the State Assembly back in March, we are hopeful it will soon be signed into law by the governor. We believe the establishment of this office will increase the availability of much needed resources for the maintenance of our Eastern Sierra public lands.