Updates

Bodie Hills looking over Mono L and Sierra April 26 2018

New Legislation Seeks Federal Recognition for the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe

New Legislation Seeks Federal Recognition for the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe This Autumn, Congressman Paul Cook introduced legislation, H.R.8208, to recognize the tribal sovereignty of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a tribe. In 2019, Friends of the Inyo submitted a letter of support urging him to move legislation forward recognizing the identity and history of his constituents. Cook’s press release outlines the decades-long struggle to gain recognition from the federal government. Rep. Cook said, “Federal recognition of the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe is long overdue, and it’s time we honor their tireless efforts in preserving their culture and history. I commend the…

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K2 Gold is here in Inyo County

K2 Gold is here in Inyo County and renting office space in Lone Pine While here, the CEO of the company is going to try to gain support for mining Conglomerate Mesa. As local residents and businesses, we need to continue to send the same message that we have been for decades: this land should be protected from mining and protected for its conservation values. Get a Conglomerate Mesa poster or yard sign today! Pick a poster with a message that you like best and we can send it to you. Email bryan@friendsoftheinyo to request a poster or yard sign.

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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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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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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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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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Supporting Fire Restoration in the Eastern Sierra

Supporting Fire Restoration in the Eastern Sierra The Inyo National Forest (INF) is busy implementing the new Forest Plan and one of their first steps is an ambitious proposal to approve up to 200,000 acres of the Forest, outside of designated wilderness, for prescribed burning and associated fire restoration. Typically each prescribed fire project needs to go through its own environmental review, reducing the ability to increase the pace and scale of restoration activities.  Under the Eastern Sierra Fire Restoration and Maintenance Project the Forest would be approved to implement prescribed fire and fuels treatment projects for a ten year…

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Haiwee Pumped Storage Update

Haiwee Pumped Storage Update Back in June we updated you on two proposed pumped storage projects in the Eastern Sierra. We are happy to report that the project proponent Premium Energy, has withdrawn their application for the Owens Valley Pumped Storage Project. Nevertheless, they continue to pursue the Haiwee Pumped Storage Project, for which the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission opened a 60 day public comment period on September 27, 2019. This project would have one upper reservoir and one lower reservoir with either an underground pressure tunnel or above ground penstock connecting them. The filling of the reservoirs would be…

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Becomes Law

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Becomes Law On March 12th, 2019 the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act was signed into law. Several areas were awarded a congressional designation by this bill. Among them are the Alabama Hills which were designated a National Scenic Area. This is the first instance of a California Desert National Conservation Land being awarded this designation. Click the link below to read the official press release by the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group to learn more. Alabama Hills Stewardship Group – Press Release    

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Friends of the Inyo’s Eastern Sierra 2018 Policy Work: The Year in Review

It was a busy year in policy for Friends of the Inyo as we worked to protect the Eastern Sierra’s public lands: Our Work to Protect Our National Forests We welcomed a new Forest Supervisor on the Inyo National Forest, and introduced her to our 30-year history of engagement with forest planning and stewardship.    The Inyo National Forest released its final proposed management plan.  We filed an objection because we believe the proposed plan does not do all it can to protect the Forest’s ecosystems.  To facilitate public involvement in the development of the best possible plan, we held…