IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR EVERYONE MAKING COMMENTS!
MAKING COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED PACTOLA AREA MINERAL CLAIMS WITHDRAWAL – THIS ONE’S DIFFERENT!
If you’ve been making comments on proposed exploration and/or mining projects, you know that – usually – people ask for a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Preparing an EIS means considering all the many, important – and usually negative — impacts that can happen with mineral exploration and mining projects.
BUT MAKING COMMENTS ON A MINERAL WITHDRAWAL IS DIFFERENT!
This is a bit counter-intuitive. But when we comment on a mineral withdrawal, we are asking the government to NOT do something (to NOT allow mining). A mineral withdrawal protects the environment and communities. So there are no environmental impacts when a withdrawal is okayed!
We are also in a hurry, with less than 2 years now to complete the process of considering the proposed withdrawal and getting a decision from the Department of the Interior. We want the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to move quickly.
For these reasons, it is important NOT to ask for an Environmental Impact Statement. Doing an EIS can easily take more than two years. And it’s not really appropriate to this situation, where we are asking for protection of the environment – withdrawing the land and water from environmental impacts.
Instead, under these circumstances, ask the US Forest Service to do an Environmental Assessment (EA). This is a shorter document that is quicker to prepare, so we’re more likely to have time to get a withdrawal. And ask for a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) when the EA has been completed.
If you already wrote comments and asked for an EIS, you can make another comment and say – now that you know more about the process – that you want an EA.
It is also important to know that comments people wrote earlier about the proposed Jenny Gulch gold exploration project DO NOT COUNT in the new mineral withdrawal process. People need to write new comments, even if they are short. Focus on water quality and cultural values. Numbers count, so be sure to see our website – bhcleanwateralliance.org — about how to write and send comments. And do it before June 20, 2023!
Please spread this information to your network! This is a national issue, and we need tribal governments, local governments, organizations (local, national, international), and individuals to support the mineral withdrawal.