Groups Fight Proposed Mining Exploration Near Death Valley
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Local environmental groups are voicing their concerns about a proposed mining exploration project about two miles west of California's Death Valley.
The company Mojave Precious Metals wants to drill more than 100 holes to look for gold at Conglomerate Mesa, and to revive some roads in what is now considered a roadless landscape.
Kayla Browne, desert-lands organizer for the group Friends of the Inyo, said the area is important to migrating mule deer and is prime habitat for the Townsend's western big-eared bat and the Inyo rock daisy.
"This particular daisy is only found in the southern Inyo Mountains," she said, "and specifically Conglomerate Mesa and Cerro Gordo."
The Bureau of Land Management soon will release an environmental analysis. The agency previously allowed helicopter-based drilling and now will decide whether to permit more of the same. On its website, Mojave Precious Metals said it would comply with "regulations that require projects to avoid unnecessary and undue environmental degradation."
Browne acknowledged that the BLM has to take into consideration an 1872 mining law that allows prospecting on public lands and allows companies to stake claims.
"There are a lot of environmental groups that are trying to get that law changed," she said, "because in 1872, mining was very different than what it is today. They weren't industrial-scale, heavy machinery, large open-pit like they are now."
The lands are part of the traditional homeland of the Timbisha-Shoshone and the Paiute-Shoshone Native American tribes. In a statement, the tribes said they're disappointed in the way the prior drilling was carried out, and vow to oppose any future development.
Protect Conglomerate Mesa website Conglomerate Mesa Coalition 2022
Rock daisy federal petition Maria Jesus, Center for Biological Diversity and California Native Plant Society 2/2/2022
Rock daisy state petition Maria Jesus, Center for Biological Diversity and California Native Plant Society 2/2/2022
General mining law U.S. Congress 1872
Mining company statement Mojave Precious Metals 3/23/2021
Tribes' statement Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe, Timbisha Shoshone Tribe 1/26/2021
get more stories like this via email
Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…
Health and Wellness
A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …
The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …
Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …
Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …
A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …
A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…
Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …