Tom J. Behlmer: What Rise Gold’s mailer left out
Residents of the area have or will receive a mailer from Rise Gold Corp. It asks the recipient to return the self-addressed reply card if they support the mine, which presumably will be used to lobby the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.
I was amazed at what was left out. The mailer makes it sound as if Grass Valley is being blessed with the mine opportunity. If Rise Gold is permitted to operate for 80 years, for which they asked, can they be trusted to operate safely and honestly. The mailer does not inspire confidence. Here is the whole truth that was not mentioned.
I wonder why?
Ore trucks, according to the permit application, will have 100 dump runs per day, operating seven days a week, 14 hours per day. That means a truck emitting exhaust coming or going about every nine minutes. Rise’s filings with the county said the trucks will not increase the absolute decibel level. They fail to mention the increase in the amount of noise rather than the absolute upper level.
A truck going by your house once a day is one thing,.One every 10 minutes is another matter.
CEO Ben Mossman’s last venture before joining Rise Gold, Banks Island Gold Ltd., owned the Yellow Giant Mine in British Columbia, Canada, which polluted tribal waters, went bankrupt, and left Canadians with a mess to clean up.
Ben Mossman and another Banks Island executive had 18 pollution charges filed against them personally. They were initially acquitted of the charges, then it was overturned, and now they’re set to go to trial again. Why was this never mentioned in the mailer?
There was no mention of the risk to property owners of their wells going dry because Rise will pump out underground water, which will lower the water table and drag down property values near the mine. So far Rise will only pay to hook up about 30 homes to NID. In turn, this would lower long-term property tax revenue to the county.
The extracted ore will be dumped in Grass Valley, raising the possibility dust blows over the area. Silica dust can have severe health affects. Rise said they will use water spray to contain the dust in their operations. Can we trust them to fulfill this promise?
What could go wrong when a company self monitors? Ask PG&E, Wells Fargo (illegal sales practices), Enron, British Petroleum (Deep Water Horizon), SCE (gas leak), Union Carbide (Bhopal explosion) and Texas chemical plants that explode.
Rise claims that 300 jobs will be created. Really? The old Em Gold draft environmental impact report, for the same mine location, indicated there would be 30 employees for a period of approximately five years during the dewatering phase. Rise claims local jobs will be created. Even at the $95,000 salary that Rise claims, are there enough people locally that have the skills or desire to work underground, assuming the 300 job figure is not inflated?
An analysis by retired bankruptcy judge, Randall Newsome, (https://www.theunion.com/opinion/columns/randall-j-newsome-rise-gold-show-me-the-money/) raised severe doubts that Rise will have money to deliver on its promises as the amount needed far exceeds its current financial ability.
A nightmare scenario could occur where Rise runs out of money after pumping and lowering the water table to a depth where new wells are prohibitively expensive to drill or operate. Their paid hydrologist studies thinks this is highly unlikely. I can’t help but reflect back on their paid traffic noise studies and its conclusions. A risk homeowners prefer to not to take.
Lastly, with ore trucks, employee commutes and supply trucks, traffic near the mine will significantly increase. Roads most impacted are: Bennett, Brunswick and Highway 174. They have bisecting streets that feed traffic that crosses on coming lanes, creating an unsafe situation. Think of the game Frogger. Plus Bennett and Highway 174 are twisty, two lane roads with limited visibility in places, creating potential for head-on accidents, which I have narrowly avoided. Our country roads were not designed to be boulevards.
Why does the mailer make no mention of these facts? Can Rise be trusted to carry out their safety and mitigation promises?
Please consider the above before returning the mailer response, or send the reply card to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors with “No Mine” written on it. The address: Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, Nevada City, CA 95959. You can also express your concern to your local supervisor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom J. Behlmer 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.