Federal Level Comment Notices

Up Next at the Federal Level:

Public Comments Due on F3 Gold’s Newark Exploration Drilling Project in the Hell Canyon Ranger District

Send in your comment by (EXTENDED DATE IS APRIL 10 at 11:59:59 PM) to the Hell Canyon Ranger District on the “Newark Exploration Drilling Project #63527”

The following was extracted from the Hell Canyon Ranger District Scoping Announcement Letter – To See Letter Click Here

For your convenience a copy of this scoping letter and the attached map, the accepted Plan of Operations, and other supporting documents can be found on the project website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63527.

You can also view and download documents from: https://usfs-public.app.box.com/v/PinyonPublic/folder/193669874743

Here are some things you can say. Use your own words! Add as much other information as you want:

  • Say who you are and why you care about the area.
  • Write about any special characteristics of the area that you are aware of. What would we lose if this area is partially cleared, driven over, and drilled – and maybe turned into a gold mine?
  • Say that a categorical exclusion is not appropriate for this project. Ask for an “Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).”
  • Talk about impacts on French Creek drainage, Custer, Custer State Park, and our tourism and outdoor recreation economy.
  • Tell the Forest Service to respect Lakota treaty rights and to do a complete, and meaningful, tribal consultation.
  • This project would only be the beginning – the company will want to keep exploring after this proposed project is over. All potential future drilling should be described and assessed now, before this project is considered.
  • Attach any documents and/or photos to verify potential impacts to wildlife, endangered species, historical sites, etc.

Update on the Thursday, Feb. 16th Public Meeting in Custer. Close to 300 Concerned Citizens Attended, but where did F3 Gold go? Folks wanted to KNOW! People said NO to a Categorical Exclusion. The Forest Service agreed to extend the comment period. We are waiting for their update. You can request to join the Forest Services email list directly at https://www.fs.usda.gov/contactus/blackhills/about-forest/contactus)

IMPORTANT – The Forest Service wants to give F3 Gold a “Categorical Exclusion” for their Newark Exploratory Drilling Project! YOUR COMMENT IS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!  We need people to file TWO comments on this project within the next 28 days. We are now waiting for the Forest Service, who promised, an extension on this comment period.

A Categorical Exclusion would FAST TRACK this project, so comment on that first.

Please act immediately and Say NO to giving F3 Gold a Categorical Exclusion!

Call the Forest Service office at 605-673-9301 and ask for the District Ranger, Rob Hoelscher, or email Wendy Schuyler at Wendy.Schuyler@usda.gov

Say that the Newark Project isn’t appropriate for a Categorical Exclusion, and the Forest Service needs to do an Environmental Assessment — and why. 

Some reasons might include:

  • this isn’t a small project — it could involve up to 390 drill holes, 
  • the company can’t complete it in a year, 
  • there may be cultural resources in the area that need to be protected,
  • it’s upstream from a city (Custer) that relies on clean water for tourism (French Creek, which the project would impact, runs right through Custer),
  • there are “extraordinary circumstances — and what they are,
  • this is a “foot in the door” by the company, and they actually want a larger project, so there would be cumulative impacts that are currently not described (their project was originally larger), and/or
  • the proposed project requires construction of more than 1/3 mile of road and clearing of more than one acre of ground.

We know that’s a lot, but these are all grounds for turning down a Categorical Exclusion. Use your own words, rather than repeating all these things in order.


2/24/23 Update – We are waiting for the Northern Hills Ranger District to announce their finding on Solitario Zinc’s Golden Crest Exploration Drilling Project. Scoping was completed this this past Fall.

The review all the project documents go to https://usfs-public.app.box.com/v/PinyonPublic/folder/168455982501

In the meantime: Please sign our Petition “HANDS OFF SPEARFISH CANYON