Ralph Silberstein: In response to The Union publisher’s provocative piece on Rise Gold project
Columns published by a community newspaper generally endeavor to address issues in a factual and respectful manner. The publication of columns such as The Union publisher’s July 10 piece “Not so fast with writing off the mine” seem to cross the line in a way that is a disservice to the community.
Here are just a few of the many points that were misguided:
Regarding the claim that people should support the mine because it will clean up the existing tailings: the legacy tailings are being cleaned up regardless of whether or not the mine project is approved. The clean-up is an ongoing project under the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Even if the permit to open the mine is never granted, RISE is required to clean up the tailings. That is a good thing. No one is trying to stop that.
Regarding the notion that most of the mining destruction and noise was pre-civil war: the American Civil War ended in 1865, the year that claims were staked for the Maryland Mine. The Idaho Quartz Mining Company erected their first stamp mill after 1867. The major mineral processing and machinery in the area didn’t really get started until long after that and continued full-bore and noisily for nearly a century.
The oft-used denigration of concerned citizens as “NIMBYs” (Not In My Backyard) and “know-nothing neighbors resorting to rumors,” belies the legitimate concerns about noise and dust (trucks, graders, compactors) as they build aggregate pads up to 90-foot deep covering 31 acres adjacent to residential neighborhoods. And having one’s well go dry or become polluted is a legitimate concern. So if a person wants to stoop to name-calling, I think a better acronym would be “NIABYs” (Not In Anybody’s Back Yard). And given the point that the mine would produce greenhouse gas emissions equal to about 5,000 homes while we face a global climate crisis, an even better acronym would be “NOPE” (Not On Planet Earth).
After all, does it really make sense to blight our town so that a Canadian company can excavate rock from depths of 5,000 feet to get maybe an ounce of gold per ton when it would completely cancel out Nevada County’s Electricity Energy Reduction Goals?
To be fair, the conclusions of the column did list conditions for approval. “1. Truly improve the community’s environmental health. 2. Benefit the local economy. 3. Fit in the neighborhood.” These are good conditions. This mine fails to meet them.
To get the facts, RISE Gold’s Idaho-Maryland Mine permit application documents can be viewed at the Nevada County website, at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/2882/Application-Documents—Rise-Grass-Valley. Visit https://www.cea-nc.org/category/the-idaho-maryland-mine/ for additional information.
Ralph Silberstein, a member of the Community Environmental Advocates Foundation, lives in Grass Valley.
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