TSF Mining Project Organizer hits the road

Mining Notes: July 2008

By Mike Thornton, TSF Mining Project Community Organizer

I have been working on The Sierra Fund’s Mining Initiative for a couple of months now, and want to bring you regular updates on the project through our email newsletter. I also want to give you an opportunity to let us know what you know and about the issues related to legacy mining and pass along any suggestions that you may have.

I have been leading a lot of meetings and working to get up to speed on the many issues related to legacy mining that are covered in our Mining’s Toxic Legacy report which is available on our website.

To say that “Mining’s Toxic Legacy” is a broad and complicated topic is about as big an understatement as one could make since it spans over 150 years of history with cultural, political, policy, environmental and health implications that in many cases are only now beginning to be recognized, much less addressed.

I have been out making presentations on the report and discussing mining related issues with Public and Environmental Health Directors, Water District Managers and Mining Industry Representatives, as well as taking part in a public forum on mining in Grass Valley that was attended by nearly 300 people.

I have talked about “Mining’s Toxic Legacy” as part of a copper mine tour in Taylorsville (Plumas Co.), traveled to Butte County to make a presentation to county staff and meet with “First Five” (Children and Families Commission), presented our report to Placer, Nevada and Yuba County officials, representatives of Nevada City and Grass Valley as well as the Nevada Irrigation District (NID). We have also discussed the issues of mine waste and cleanup with The Nevada County Land Trust and the Idaho Maryland Mining Corporation.

At this time I am scheduled to make a presentation at the Region I Environmental Health Directors meeting in Marysville, speak with Public Health and tour the Leviathan Mine in Alpine County, go to Sierra County, Tehama County and back to Alpine in August, travel to Chico to speak to a watershed group in September and head to Mono County in October.

I will keep you updated as I make my way across the 22 Counties of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to share the information we have and learn from others about what is and is not being done, as well as what can and needs to be done to come up with realistic solutions for the problems posed by “Mining’s Toxic Legacy”.

Again, if you have any thoughts or suggestions about the Initiative or who we should be contacting in particular regions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

You can reach me via email mike.thornton@sierrafund.org or call me at the office 530-265-8454 ext.10.