For those who could not attend the NDEP meeting last night, here is a quick summary.
It went about as we expected, with NDEP focusing on how they will keep the mine “safe” (but can you really keep a mine “safe” when it involves blowing a huge pit in the side of a mountain? It’s certainly not safe for the sagebrush, or the sage-grouse, or the pronghorn, or the meadowlarks, or anyone else who might live there).
NDEP claimed that the tailings that will be piled up at Thacker Pass won’t be very toxic. This is a joke. Metals mining is responsible for at least 50% of the most toxic pollution released into the environment every year.
DuPont’s presentation following NDEP’s was both boring and unprofessional.
NDEP confirmed that they don’t deny permits that meet the regulations in the law, and they work with companies to make sure that their permit applications meet the regulations. In other words, yup, they never deny permits.
We know of course that just because a mine proposal meets all the regulations, and is permitted by regulatory agencies, this in no way keeps the community safe. All mines require perpetual remediation to prevent or attempt to prevent toxins getting into the air, water, and soil. A lot of the time these remediations fail. But as long as the mining company met the regulation requirements they are usually not held responsible.
And even if they *are* held responsible, it’s too late. The mine is done. The pollution is happening or has happened. The water, soil, and air is contaminated forever on a human timeframe. The natural communities where the mine is located are decimated, never to return. Even if the mine is forced to pay communities for damages done (which almost never happens) that doesn’t bring back the water, air, and soil, and the living beings who lived there. That’s all gone forever. That means the communities in these contaminated sites are done. People stay there and get sick, or they are forced to leave.
Is it really worth the risk? We say no.
And perhaps most importantly: nowhere in the meeting was there an acknowledgement that Thacker Pass is sacred land, home to wild beings who have their own lives and their own needs; that this land provides medicine and food for those wild beings as well as traditional people; or that the corporation that wants to destroy this land and the regulatory agencies permitting this mine have no connection to this land.
Please join us to #ProtectThackerPass. Come to camp, make a donation, or resist from afar by writing stories, contacting the media, contacting other groups who protect the land.
Get all the information you need here on our web site.
Sorry if I missed it elsewhere, but what was DuPont’s presentation about? I can imagine DuPont, the chemical company, would be supplying the explosive materials to blow up the mountain, or the sulfur concoctions used to leach out the desired element. Also, how many people attended? Were there members from the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe? Ranchers? Thanks for the report, btw.
DuPont would like to provide the air scrubbers that will be used to reduce the air pollution from the sulfuric acid refinery that will be built onsite at the mine. They will be trucking molten sulfur to the site (about 100-200 truckloads per day) to refine on site. This process of making sulfuric acid produces sulfur dioxide which is harmful to people and the environment. They’ll use the sulfuric acid to leach the lithium from the clay they dig from the ground.
About 100 people were there, including members of the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe and ranchers.