Richard Drace: Rise Gold proposal is risky, rude and just plain wrong
The many contributors who have expressed their significant concerns about the Rise Gold proposal deserve our thanks. Perhaps it’s time for a bit of summary of a few salient points. Taken together, their arguments present a compelling case for denying the project application.
Water, water, (not) everywhere: Scientists say they’ve been wrong about climate change; it’s happening more quickly and more severely than they predicted. We’re in a climate-change-influenced megadrought. Yet pumping out a million gallons a day or more for 80 years is no problem because a computer model, quite possibly is as much a parody of objectivity as the recent Rise satisfaction survey, says it will be OK?
Job applicant: If you were an employer and you looked at Ben Mossman’s resumé and his references for his company, would you hire him? Past performance may be no guarantee of future results, but it sure is a strong indicator when it comes to a sketchy company CEO’s track record.
Show me the money: “Undercapitalized” is an understatement. The Rise Gold Corp. says they will raise the money from investors optimistic about the project’s success. And if things go poorly and the stock value plummets, where’s the financial capacity to deal with consequences?
Organizational capacity: Project proponents must present reliable evidence that they have the wherewithal to fulfill expectations. Rise Gold simply asserts without evidence that they will be able to fulfill their huge claims.
Fail safe? Too many projects have been approved assuming the proposed mitigations will perform as assured. Yet we don’t inhabit a world where pipelines don’t leak, levees don’t fail, dams aren’t breached, tailings don’t leach, and water isn’t polluted. That everything will work — for 80 years — just fine. Even if everything performed as planned, the negative impacts are substantial. If things don’t work as asserted, the consequences would be dire.
Trickle down: If the project proceeds, minor benefits would trickle down to our community, while major profits gusher up to out-of-the-area investors. If any part of the “fail” in fail safe happens, a setback will ooze up to Rise Gold, while long-term consequences will inundate our community.
Won’t you (not) be my neighbor? Although the project site is zoned for such activities, the removal of tailings will cause impacts well beyond the immediate vicinity. To propose running trucks 24/7 indicates a crass indifference to all those neighbors who will be denied peaceful enjoyment of their properties and almost certain severe depreciation of their property values. Although not technically meeting the legal definition of a “taking” — a devaluation of value due to a change in property status — in reality the outcome would almost certainly be exactly that.
Mining legacy: Yes, mining is central to our community’s historical identity. We now have a clear choice — which parts of that legacy do we want to perpetuate? The noise and vibration of stamp mills running 24 hours a day? Tailings leaching to this day at Empire Mine? Waterways and farmland devastated from hydraulic mining runoff? Or shall we proudly choose to carry on the legacy of the Sawyer Decision of 1884: The first in our state’s history to grant environmental relief from the effects of unrestrained mineral extraction practices?
Richard Drace lives in Grass Valley.
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“You’ve heard me say this before: Every acre can and will burn someday in this state” — Cal Fire Director Thom Porter.