Bordered by the Inyo Mountains and Malpais Mesa Wilderness, Conglomerate Mesa is an unroaded, undeveloped, wild, and rugged landscape. So that is to say, it’s a beautiful, special place. Dotted with Joshua tree and Pinyon and Juniper, Conglomerate Mesa is a recently designated California Desert National Conservation Land and Friends of the Inyo has been working for its permanent protection since 2008.
Conglomerate Mesa is, once again, under attack from mining interests. Conglomerate is the first roadless area in California targeted for development under the Trump administration. We are not being alarmist when we say these exploratory drill sites are only the beginning. The ultimate land management goals of the current administration are explicitly extractive: mine the land until it stops making money, and then abandon it with as little regulation as possible.
SSR, Inc. proposes to drill seven exploratory drill sites to locate gold deposits in the heart of this roadless area. The Environmental Assessment, currently open for public comment through Nov 20th, 2017, has four alternatives:
1) a no-action alternative which would deny the company’s proposal
2) construction of an overland route,
3) opening an old road that was restored by the BLM in the 1990’s.
4) helicopter access alternative
Friends of the Inyo asks you to write the BLM to suggest the “no-action” option and deny any permitting whatsoever for this project.
If gold is located during the exploratory drilling phase the next step will be a proposal for an open pit cyinde heap leach mine. Such an operation would permanently damage the area’s wild character, degrade habitat for plants and wildlife, and pollute scarce local water systems. It’s well documented that cyanide heap leaching poses significant hazards to plants and animals from gold mining and related toxic water issues.
Along with CalWild, Sierra Club and other partners, Friends of the Inyo is taking the lead on protection of this wild place but we need your help. Donate to this cause, become a volunteer or submit a letter to BLM. Your comments can also be submitted by any of the following methods:
Mail: ATTN: Randal Porter, Ridgecrest Field Office, 300 S. Richmond Rd., Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Don’t let the floodgates open for more attacks on wilderness-quality lands in California – write the Ridgecrest BLM today! Tell them that Inyo County depends more on intact, healthy landscapes than hollow promises from international corporations.
COMMENTS ARE DUE NOVEMBER 20, 2017
To inquire about protecting this amazing place, email Jora.