RE: Idaho-Maryland Mine Proposal
The history of gold mining in Nevada County has shown us, time and time again, that devastating impacts to the community and environment go hand in hand with this invasive industry.
The current mine reopening proposal violates every tenet associated with a community that desires clean abundant water, air, and a healthy sustainable life in our ideal peaceful foothill town. We depend on our home and property investment as a means to see us through our eventual retirement in these beautiful foothills of Nevada County. This proposal is a blatant, outrageous threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this community.
It is imperative that you order non-biased, independent, and comprehensive tests and analysis, for the complex issues of environmental impacts associated with this proposal.
Analysis and Reports necessary:
1. Hydro Geology (underground flow) & Hydrology (above ground flow)
We know there is underground water flow, shown by the need for dewatering and continuous pump out. We must have a comprehensive, before the fact, understanding of all facets of this water flow, including contamination and discharge to the environment.
The report submitted by Rise Gold Corp does not mention that underground water flow is dominated by fractures and faults. An expert report will demonstrate that these cracks are ubiquitous to Nevada County’s geology. This is how the entire designated area, and beyond, will suffer the complete loss of all usable water, during mining operations. The dewatering alone, at the rate of 3.6 million gallons per day will drain the aquifer in a time when water is even more precious for the fire safety of the citizens. Hundreds of residential wells will go dry. There is no possible way to mitigate this impact to less than significant. Any proposed extension of NID public water is highly troublesome. Besides residents facing the loss of their high quality, free, well water, they would be forced to pay for public service. And, most of the potentially affected homes do not have that public water option, since the infrastructure is not in place.
2. Land Use and Planning - Zoning
The project’s proposed rezone does exactly what zoning should not; create a nuisance to incompatible adjacent existing residentially zoned uses. The existing proposed sites are zoned “light” industrial. We do not approve of changing this and did not purchase our home adjacent to a potential “heavy” industrial site. The underground operations are also “heavy” industrial and reach into residential areas above. These drilling and blasting impacts cannot be mitigated to less than significant. A plan of 80 years of heavy industrial mining will cause this area to be a wasteland of contaminated grounds and air.
3. Heavy truck/equipment Noise, Blasting Noise, and Associated Earth Tremors.
This will be unbearable for residents within several miles of the sites. Noise travels great distances. Wildlife and citizens alike will be impacted to a significant degree. CEQA requires a comprehensive study of the impacts of the proposed projects; both for construction noise impacts and operational noise impacts.
Aside from this proposal, there are other construction projects approved and on the drawing board in the vicinity. The cumulative impacts, together with this project, must be comprehensively analyzed.
4. Transportation & Traffic
Ingress and Egress will be severely hampered with the constant truck traffic. With only one route to evacuation, Greenhorn residents will be trapped, should there be a wildfire. Road repair estimates for heavy truck/equipment traffic must be studied. The project appears to present a new impediment for citizens east of the site, to Grass Valley and hwy 49/20, that must be analyzed. Expected levels of service must be presented for the purpose of analyzing impacts, or alternatives.
Traffic Engineers, Cal Trans, and the CHP should be consulted for the purpose of reporting on this.
Our area risks losing high tech companies that will move due to the combined impacts of this mine. The underground boundaries of this proposal reach near or below existing tech companies. Hundreds of residents will move out of the area due to the combined impacts. This must be studied and reported on, in terms of economic consequences in loss of revenue. Additionally, the devalued property will affect the county economically with the loss of property taxes. Real Estate reports must be ordered to assess the potential of lost property values.
6. Air Quality - Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Realistic measurements must be studied to determine the impacts on clean air, from the endless heavy diesel truck and machinery exhaust volume. The release of unhealthy particulate matter into the air, from blasting, drilling, and loading of toxic asbestos, chemicals, and heavy metals, must be analyzed. A separate study must be done for the release of chemicals into the air, caused by the ammonium nitrate blasting. The carbon emitted into the atmosphere will be in the thousands of tons per year. This must be accurately studied and reported on.
7. Agriculture and Forestry Impact
Valuable natural assets will be devastated by the loss of 3.6 million gallons of water daily. Noise and air pollution will further exacerbate problems. Even at their own admission, the Rise NOP indicates unique, rare, or endangered species will be lost. We already have bark Beetles and drought affecting our forests. What can we expect from this operation to exacerbate conditions? Rise Gold Corp has no plan or study for the impact of such massive water loss and pollution.
8. Terrestrial and Aquatic Biological Resources
A study must be done on the impacts to these natural conditions, as well as the potential loss of unique wildlife and species of vegetation. Both extremes exist; loss of water to keep everything alive, and the flood of toxic water on outflows, all the way to the Sacramento Valley and beyond. When a well is run dry and your animals cannot be given water, what are the options?