“It would be nice to have someone from the BLM in attendance at the meeting to answer any questions that might be related to the use of BLM lands for ingress and egress and any other matters that might arise,” Bob Matthews, Red Rock Citizens Advisory Council.
Mining and reclamation on its own is not a concern, but it could be when it comes WITHOUT an environmental study, in the middle of RED ROCK CANYON, and includes permission for “reclamation” on sensitive PUBLIC lands–when the developer’s own definition for “reclamation” IS “development!”
Excerpt from the NOTICE OF INTENT – Bureau of Mining – Regulation and Reclamation (bolded notations by SRR.com):
The Administrator of the Division of Environmental Protection (Division) gives notice that an application for a Reclamation Permit for a mining operation for the Blue Diamond Mine has been properly filed with the Division in Carson City. The applicant for Permit # 0328 is: Gypsum Resources…The project is approximately one mile from the community of Blue Diamond, Nevada. The project area has been intermittently mined by several operators through the 1900’s. The project includes both private land and lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The applicant proposes to reactivate mining on private land only. Some historic surface disturbance located on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management will be reclaimed as part of this project.
The Administrator is constrained to issue the Reclamation Permit or to deny the application. The Administrator has made the tentative decision to issue the reclamation permit.
Excerpt (opinion*) about this meeting from “Saving Red Rock Canyon, The Battle For Blue Diamond Hill…a classic and fascinating story of how one person can challenge the property rights of a whole society.” by Evan Blythin, pages 58-61:
“One day yet another entity entered the fray, The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. This particular entity is interesting in that it is part of Nevada’s Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation; at face value, this seems like putting the fox in charge of the chickens.
The classified legal section of the Las Vegas Review Journal carried a ‘Notice of Intent by The State of Nevada,’ a notice sponsored by the developer. The stated intent is to pass judgment on an application for a Reclamation and Mining Permit by the developer.
While reclamation is the avowed purpose of the application, the application also states that ‘The applicant proposes to reactivate mining..’ Reactivating mining can hardly be called reclamation. But that is the way the legal notice reads. The application is a wonderment. According to the legal notice, the ‘project includes both private land and lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.’
The Legal Notice has yet one other surprise. The Notice of Intent says that the ‘administrator has made the tentative decision to issue the reclamation permit. Property in the middle of a National Conservation Area, and a tentative decision has been made with no public input, with no environmental study. Step back, look out. Looks like a knife to me. I sent the folowing response to the notice, being as nice as possible in the face of yet another outrageous attempt to deface one of the most beautiful canyons in the America Southwest.
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
907 S. Stewart St. Ste 4007
Carson City, Nevada 89701
I am writing to request a public hearing on application permit #0328. The application, submitted by Gypsum Resources, involves mining and reclamation adjacent to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I am directly affected by the application in that I live approximately one mile from the mining/reclamation area. I am also a member of the Red Rock Citizens Advisory Council that deals with land-use issues in the area of application.
There are several reasons for this request. First, the application does not entail extensive and independent environmental scrutiny. The proposed mining/reclamation is adjacent to the Red Rock Canyon National ‘Conservation’ Area, an area that is both phenomenally beautiful and incredibly fragile. Any attempt to modify the area should require close examination of environmental concerns.
A second issue of importance is that while the application is to a state agency, the property involves Federal public lands; a public hearing is warranted. Furthermore, the reactivation of mining is being requested at the same time that plans for residential development are being processed for the same land, through Clark County–the two plans seem incompatible. To further complicate matters, the plan for reclamation on ‘historic surface disturbance’ on public land is vague and possibly destructive: much of the disturbance has been very small and over the years has become naturalized–reclamation of such areas could very well leave long lasting scarification.
I believe it would be a mistake to approve permit #0328 without serious public examination of the many issues involved. Your consideration of my request for a public hearing wil be appreciated.
A number of people requested a hearing and a hearing was approved. The people requesting a hearing received a letter from The State of Nevada, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, DIVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
The letter from the multi-named State department indicates that the reclamation permit goes back to March of 1993. The application is called a Plan Of Operation/Reclamation Permit Application, identified throughout the letter as POO. That’s about the way I view this process, it is truly POO.
The permitting process was discontinued in 2003, and then reactivated in 2011. According to the letter, The Nevada Administrative Code does ‘not give authority to the Reclamation Branch of the Bureau of Mining Reclamation to require comprehensive environmental evaluations as part of the State permitting process.’ Is that some POO or what?
The public meeting will be heard [Dec. 18, 2012]. No one expects much from the meeting. County, State, and Federal agencies are moving us to a major commercial project in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Editor’s Note: While we all know how opinionated our respected Professor Blythin can be, no one can deny his is an experienced perspective, having worked on public zoning issues for 22 years and 12 years on this particular battle to preserve the rural zoning in Red Rock Canyon.
Going into this meeting, we should all of course be wary, but not weary. For one thing, the meeting is hosted by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, NDEP, who’s mission statement is “Protecting the Future for Generations“. In an ethical world, that would be a slam dunk for the public and Saving Red Rock Canyon for future generations.
After all, no one at Save Red Rock is against historic mining or private property rights, only concerned for the health and future of Red Rock Canyon and it’s most sensitive, adjacent public lands. The concern is that a permit is being considered without environmental assessment and that the developer could be granted a new permit on sensitive, controversially located public lands for “reclamation”, which by the developer’s own definition, includes development. (After a year’s worth of “Gypsum Reclamation Meetings” hosted by the developers, I asked them why they never mentioned reclamation in any of their reclamation meetings. They answered that their plan for reclamation WAS development.) Therefore it is understandable that the public should be concerned about a developer seeking a permit to “reclaim” public lands he does not own and which are so central to the welfare of Red Rock Canyon.
We should go into this meeting with an open mind, learn the facts, formulate our own opinions, actions, and above all, never give up!
*Save Red Rock, Inc. does not necessarily agree with or endorse any opinions or articles published on this website. Saveredrock.com is a centralized resource for citizens to read and post information and opinion pertaining to the welfare of Red Rock Canyon. Please submit anything relevant to Saving Red Rock Canyon such as meeting notices, facts, letters, opinions, photos, or news articles, to: [email protected].