Updates

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31 May: Threats to California’s Mining Regulations

California’s State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB) is under pressure from the mining industry to weaken regulations that could pave the way to expanded open pit mining—including industrial-scale cyanide heap leach mining at Conglomerate Mesa. Current California mining laws are some of the strongest in the nation and include stringent backfill requirements which result in many mining proposals being economically infeasible. The SMGB (which has no environmental representative), has issued a “Notice of Pre-Rulemaking Workshop and Public Comment period” to “review, and possibly revise, state policy pertaining to Performance Standards for Backfilling Excavations and Recontouring Lands Disturbed by Open Pit Surface Mining…

Press release perdito approval

19 May: Exploratory Drilling Approved – Conglomerate Mesa

Exploratory Drilling Approved at Conglomerate Mesa The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a decision allowing exploration for gold at conglomerate mesa, a remote and wild corner of Inyo county adjacent to Death Valley National Park. This decision endangers the area’s recreation- and tourism-based economy, delicate water supply, and uniquely important ecosystem and cultural resources. Click here to read our .pdf press release or see the text version below, and sign up on our mailing list to receive updates from us on Conglomerate Mesa and the Perdito project as they develop. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 18, 2018 Contact: Wendy Schneider, (310)…

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06 May: Farm Bill HR2 Action Alert

Urge your Representative to Oppose the House Farm Bill H.R. 2 The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) is brimming with attacks on America’s bedrock environmental laws and our national forests. The House Farm Bill includes numerous Congressional exemptions for up to 6,000-acre forestry projects, including exemptions from public input and other critical environmental review. Such exemptions would prioritize logging over clean water, recreation, and wildlife. Please call your Representative and tell them you oppose H.R. 2 This bill promotes logging over other uses of public lands and creates backward incentives that would shift emphasis and funding from…

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04 May: 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…

20 Apr: S.B. 32 California Desert Protection and Recreation Act

Senator Diane Feinstein’s latest desert protection bill (the California Desert Protection and Recreation Act of 2017) received a hearing on July 26th. Friends of the Inyo and our partner, the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, are gathering letters of support for the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area portion of this bill. The bill also contains additions to Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks, designates new wilderness and wild and scenic rivers, closes loopholes to provide true permanent protection for conservation-designated lands in the Desert District, and provides protections from Cadiz and other water export projects (see AB1000 below for more…

02 Apr: Help protect our Desert Lands!

The West Mojave Route Network Project (WEMO) Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and draft Land Use Plan Amendment was released on March 16, 2018. The plan aims to manage dispersed recreation visitation over an extensive area in the Mojave Desert. In the Eastern Sierra this includes BLM lands near Olancha, Keeler, Darwin and Owens Lake. The draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement evaluates routes in the planning area and proposes a comprehensive route network that attempts to balance access with the protection of sensitive resources. Unfortunately, the new draft plan falls short- designating a spaghetti network of 6,300 miles of OHV…

20 Mar: Proposed Federal Budget

In March, 2017 the Trump administration released its proposed budget, including substantial cuts to agencies that protect and manage public lands: Environmental Protection Agency (31%), Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service (21%) and Department of the Interior (12%).

13 Mar: Executive Order 13781 Federal Agency Review

On March 13th 2017, the Trump administration signed Executive Order 13781 requiring development of a plan to reorganize the executive branch including recommending agencies, programs, and functions for elimination. Friends of the Inyo submitted detailed comments in support of maintaining or increasing funding for those agencies that manage and support our public lands, including the Forest Service, the Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

01 Mar: Your DRECP Comments Needed

Keep The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Intact! Comments Due March 22nd The Department of Interior issued a federal register notice opening a 45 day comment period “on increasing opportunities for increased renewable energy development, recreational and off-highway vehicle (OHV) access, mining access, and grazing” This amending of the DRECP is a slap in the face to eight years of collaborative work, research and public outreach to balance renewable energy and conservation in the California Desert and identify areas most suitable for development. The Department of Interior said in a press statement it is exploring changes to the plan at…

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19 Feb: The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is Under Attack!

***New Development*** The Inyo County Board of Supervisors will be discussing their draft letter to the BLM regarding the re-opening of the DRECP. The Board is currently scheduled to discuss the topic on March 20, 2018 at their Board of Supervisors meeting. Here are some talking points to help you prepare for the meeting: 1. Thank the Board for its stance taken at the February 27 meeting to oppose re-opening the DRECP. 2. Remind them that they wanted to insure that their letter sent a clear signal and not mixed messages, and the current letter does not clearly oppose re-opening.  The draft’s…