EJM Letter about Reopening the Mine

Mr. Matt Kelley, Senior Planner
Nevada County Planning Department
RE: Idaho-Maryland Mine Proposal

Dear Matt Kelley,

Earth Justice Ministries is a local interfaith nonprofit dedicated to the work of peace, justice, and the restoration of the community of life. Our work is primarily local, but we think globally and address today’s interrelated issues from a spiritual perspective. We have two primary questions that we would like you to address regarding the proposal to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine (IMM):

  • Would the cumulative impacts of reopening the IMM primarily help or harm the interconnected community of human and other-than-human life in our region and beyond?

From what we have read of Rise Gold’s plan, the answer is “harm.” If that is the case, we will stand strongly against the proposal. If Rise demonstrates that all potential harm will be mitigated and that the mine will have overall benefit to the community of life, and if the plan is approved, the second question is this:

  • Will the County require a sufficient bond to be paid in advance to guarantee the conditions under which the permit was granted into the future?

The list of categories of concerns in the NOP does not take into consideration that these concerns are all interrelated. Ancient wisdom and scientific evidence affirm that humans are part of the interdependent community of life. When people write about the quality of air, water, soil, and the health of plants and wildlife in our area, it should be understood that a degraded bioregion will impact humans along with other life forms. When people write of concerns about the tremendous increase in energy use resulting in a much greater regional carbon footprint, it should be understood that the mine will accelerate climate change, which disproportionately harms those who are most vulnerable and will create immense hardship for future generations. Many people and organizations in our community are working hard to preserve the gifts of creation in this place and to transition to a world of climate justice. When people write about the (not just potential but stated) impacts of noise from drilling and heavy machinery running night and day, damage to roads caused by trucks carrying tons of toxic tailing (even through town), the release of asbestos from the tons of rock being crushed every day, wells running dry because of the massive dewatering operations, it is important to look at all these problems as pointing to a project that will not help, but will harm individuals who live near the mine, our dear Nevada County community, and the interrelated community of life of which we are a part. Even the issue of aesthetics should be seen in this larger context of overall quality of life, as many people find spiritual comfort in the beauty of this place, even while it nurtures biodiversity.

The gold extracted from this mine will not stay here but will be exported to Canada. The impacts will be with us for generations, as we know from the lasting impacts of legacy mining. To us, this is a spiritual and moral issue. Temporary jobs and corporate profits should not supersede the well-being of individuals, communities, the larger world, or future generations.

Thank you for considering our questions and we look forward to your answer.

Board of Directors of Earth Justice Ministries

Guarionex Delgado

Tracy Pepper

Brian Fry

Ruby Chow

The Rev. Sharon Delgado