TSF publishes Mining Toxins Working Group Blueprint

NEVADA CITY, 13 May 2010 – Today, The Sierra Fund is publishing a working document to guide collaboration among the many entities working to address legacy mining contamination in the Sierra Nevada.  Building a Mining Toxins Working Group:  A Blueprint for California lays the groundwork for a regional Mining Toxins Working Group. 

In October 2009, The Sierra Fund convened a two-day “Charrette” meeting of experts working on various aspects of the abandoned mine lands issue.  Participants included leading scientists, regulators, health professionals, local government officials, tribal leaders and conservationists.  The key question for this meeting, which is answered in the Blueprint document, was: 

What is the most effective way to support education, outreach, leadership and collaboration among the important community, government, business, and scientific efforts necessary to build the capacity to address the many facets of mining’s toxic legacy in California?

According to the recommendation of these experts, The Sierra Fund is calling for the establishment of a Mining Toxins Working Group.  This group will build relationships and an information base that will bring new resources both to the Sierra and the statewide and even national debate about legacy mining issues. 

The Blueprint document identifies current needs to address this issue, the structure and coordination of the Working Group, and potential participants and funding sources.  The Group will be open and inclusive, and will strive to involve those who have a direct stake in these issues, especially communities that have been traditionally under-represented in decisions around mining issues.  The Group will work through four standing committees (Environmental Science & Technology, Public Health, Public Outreach and Policy Development) convened by different partners that focus on key topics, but will strive to integrate the work among all players. 

Over the next several months, a workplan for each of the four committees, and the Working Group as a whole, will be drafted.  This workplan will be discussed and adopted at the public conference “A Community Summit on Historic Mining Impacts in the Sierra Nevada” October 5-6, 2010 in Nevada City. 

As with all parts of our Mining’s Toxic Legacy Initiative, public involvement is essential to creating solutions that work for the people most affected.  We invite your comments on this document, which is intended to inform the development of the Working Group’s plan, and also your participation at the Community Summit. 

To give comments, participate in the Working Group, or for more information contact Izzy Martin, izzy.martin @ sierrafund.org.

The Sierra Fund would like to thank ALL of the individuals and organizations that contributed their time and talent to The Sierra Fund’s Mining Toxins Working Group Charrette, as well as: The California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, and True North Foundation for their financial support of this meeting.