Steve Temple: Hard pass on mine adventure
I wish to voice my vigorous opposition to the propaganda campaign that Rise Gold is mounting to sway public opinion and our Nevada County Board of Supervisors in favor of reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine.
In the context of previous behavior and legal misadventures of CEO Ben Mossman, this maneuver is at best suspicious and at worst a scam. You and we must examine every claim and promise in detail, and obtain legally binding commitments in lieu of empty promises.
The overall community impact of extractive and exploitive ventures like gold mines, coal and copper and aluminum and silver mines, oil wells and pipelines, methane extraction, etc., are numerous and convincing.
One has only to look at the Gold Rush-era photos of our beautiful region at the Empire Mine State Park Museum to appreciate the overpowering greed that devastated this area environmentally, the exploitation of Asian immigrants, and inhumane treatment of mules, extermination and bounty-hunting of our Nisenan citizen-neighbors (and on and on) to be skeptical of modern technology founded on similar motives.
Western Nevada County was quite a violent place during the Gold Rush. And an 1850s comparison of living conditions for Empire Mine owners versus the mine workers does not need to be re-enacted today, albeit in a different form.
The technology may be improved, but the psychological community mindset has not changed much and is antithetical to the open and inclusive, tourist-friendly environment that enticed so many western Nevada County residents like my wife and I to relocate here upon retirement.
Literally all of the costs and risks that many residents and editors are writing about in The Union (noise, traffic, water, wells, fire, road maintenance, worker health-care needs, etc.) threaten the most basic attractions that Grass Valley and Nevada City offer to people like my wife and I.
One has only to read historical accounts of the greed and violence that accompanied Gold Rush life here to be wary of a return to an extractive and exploitive community mentality.
And we must look at the devastation (environmental and emotional) that oil fields, mines and pipelines have left in their wake to lend sufficient skepticism to the wisdom of exposing our very special community to the ravages of another extraction-based economic adventure (and that is really what we are all being subjected to … an adventure).
In this era of pandemic and wildfires and drought challenges, please work together to give us increased community unity and cohesiveness to support one another, rather than the divisiveness that this Rise Gold proposal brings to you and us.
At the very least, I implore you to scrutinize every Rise Gold detail with the skepticism that the CEO’s history demands. Thank you for putting our community needs first.
Steve Temple is a retired UC Davis plant scientist. He lives in Grass Valley.
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What times we are living in! Climate change, pandemic! Social media! What else is new?