Action Alert: Mining Exploration Threatens Long Valley
*Updated 5/10: Comment period extended to May 13, 2021
Kore Mining proposes to construct a total of fourteen drilling pads, measuring 30 feet by 50 feet each. Access to these drill pads will require re-opening roughly a third of a mile of road for the duration of the project. Impacts of this proposed project include local quality of life, tourism, air quality, noise pollution, decimated habitat of local flora and fauna (including the at-risk sage grouse and local mule deer). The impacts of the exploration might be only the beginning, however. If the company finds a sufficient quantity of gold to mine, that activity could affect important habitats, create long-lasting water pollution issues, and forever scar Long Valley. Finally, the struggle for water in the area doesn’t allow for further demand to support mining in the area as well. To make matters worse, the agency is considering the use of a Categorical Exclusion (CE), the lower level of NEPA required for projects on federal lands.
On May 4th the Mono County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved to send a letter to the Inyo NF opposing the use of a CE. The Town of Mammoth Lakes is considering a similar letter.
The impacts of the exploration might be only the beginning, however. The company has fully disclosed it is pursuing a full-scale heap leach mine operation which would dramatically impact critical wildlife habitat, create long-lasting water pollution issues, and forever scar Long Valley. Finally, our ongoing struggle for water in Long Valley doesn’t allow for a further demand to support exploration and future mining activities. Friends of the Inyo and partners are busy preparing comments and we will share them once they are submitted.
What can I do?
If you live, work, or recreate in the Eastern Sierra and especially in the Mammoth Lakes and Long Valley areas, you likely share our concerns about the impact of this proposed project and the prospects of large-scale mining in this scenic and important landscape. If you missed the May 6th deadline, the Inyo National Forest has extended the deadline until May 13th based on the degree of public interest. Already nearly 1,000 individual comments have been received! We encourage you to submit your comments by May 13, 2021, and ensure your concerns are included in the Inyo National Forest’s analysis.
We suggest you include the following in your comments:
- Express your strong opposition to the project because of potential impacts to human health (i.e. dust, flood lights at night, noise), our local tourist-based economy, risks to Hot Creek from intercepting groundwater, and our wildlife such as Sage Grouse and Mule Deer.
- Oppose the use of a Categorical Exclusion (CE), the lowest level of environmental review, for this project.
- Emphasize the level of public controversy this project is facing. If this project is approved as a CE this will be the only time for public participation.
- Request the Forest Service require an Environmental Assessment as the minimum level of environmental analysis.
- If applicable, share your personal experiences in Long Valley and the impact such a project will have on your public lands.
Please submit your comments by May 13th.