REPORT FROM THE STATE MINING AND GEOLOGY BOARD HEARING
UPDATE 4/10/03 REGS MADE PERMANENT!
Thursday March 13,2003
REPORT FROM THE CAPITAL: 3/13/03
THE BOARD INTENDS THAT ANY NEW BRIGGS PITS WILL REQUIRE COMPLETE BACKFILL!
Ingrid Crickmore of Desert Survivors, Courtney Cuff of the NPCA, Kim Delfino of Defenders of Wildlife, Christie Whiteside of Great Basin Mine Watch, and Bob Ellis representing Friends of the Panamints and the Sierra Club attended and spoke at the State Mining and Geology Board Hearing this morning on the proposed permanent backfill regulations.
There were three board members sitting as a committee and the executive officer of the mining and geology board on the stage to hear the testimony.
Brian Harper? of the California Mining Association: He expressed concerns with the lack of CEQA evaluation of the proposed regulations, stated that if the unopposed Senate Bill 22 (Cal) (backfill Glamis Project only) passes there should be no need for further backfill reform, felt that more study should have been made of any real hazards or available alternate uses of abandoned pits, and threatened that hundreds of millions of dollars of "takings" could result if the proposed regulations passed. All of this they have expressed in written form and his presentation was very low-key. He added that they would like a more specific exemption for the Briggs Mine.
A sand and gravel representative wanted some allowance to allow taking sand and gravel from open pit mines which might have gold as well.
Jason Marshall of the State Resources Office (the governor's rep) got up and strongly stated that the board's broader statewide backfill regulations were needed and were supported by the State Resources Office regardless of the passage of the SB22 bill.
Then we five got up and made our points. We congratulated the board for taking on this needed reform and strongly supported its passage. We also requested that the Briggs mine's northern explorations be required to be backfilled.
At the end the chairperson asked for any questions from the board and asked John Parrish, the executive officer of the mining and geology board to explain how the proposed regs would affect Briggs. He said the clear intent of the board is to require any new open pits dug by Briggs north of their current site to be completely backfilled. He said that the authority to enforce that is at this time with Inyo County Planning Department. He said the board would send a letter to Inyo County explicitly expressing the Board's intent.
We talked to several staff people who were uniformly enthusiastic about our attendance there.
The deadline for comment is noon April 1st, and the next board meeting on Thursday April 10th in Sacramento will be the time when the regulations are voted on.
We have done well so far. Lets keep up the pressure.