Bob Branstrom: Time to evaluate mining proposal: your voice matters
Rise Grass Valley has been conducting exploratory drilling at the historic Idaho-Maryland Mine the past few years. Apparently, they have positive results and are now hoping to reopen the mine.
They have formally requested permits from the county, which is moving forward with the required environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.
The possibility of reopening the mine provides both opportunities and risks. The prospect of several hundred new well-paying jobs is tantalizing indeed. Diversifying and strengthening our local economy would benefit our community greatly, providing increased support for our local businesses, governments, schools, and hospital.
However, historic mining operations brought many problems. Reopening the mine requires addressing concerns about noise, dust particulates, and the impact of huge amounts of water pumped from the mine. These and other concerns could have a negative impact on our present-day community.
Much has changed since the mines were closed in the middle of the last century. We are now a significant retirement, recreational, and tourist area. We don’t want to destroy what we have built up here. The years have also brought us significant environmental regulations designed to protect us from the problems of past mining.
This brings us to where we are today, the beginning of the review process. It’s time to express our concerns and to evaluate how they are being addressed by Rise. It’s also time to evaluate Rise itself, to see if it can be expected to keep its commitments and be a good corporate citizen in our community.
The next step is “scoping meetings” by Nevada County, to solicit public input on environmental concerns the community has, so these can be addressed in the Environmental Impact Report. You can keep up to date on the project and be added to the County’s email list for the project at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/2881/Idaho-Maryland-Mine—Rise-Grass-Valley.
Let’s engage actively in the review process to make our concerns known and to evaluate both the risks and the rewards of a reopened mine. Then the Nevada County Board of Supervisors can make an informed decision about what is best for our community. Your voice matters.
Bob Branstrom lives in Grass Valley.
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