The Los Angeles based NGO Environment California is urging U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to deny any new mining claims within 50 miles of Yosemite National Park, as well as revoke active mining claims within 10 miles of Yosemite’s border. 50 MILES! That is like outlawing mining from the boundaries of Yosemite all the way to Fresno. If a mine is downstream of Yosemite, how is it going to affect the park? Sounds like they want to shut down economic activity in a 50 mile radius of Yosemite. I wonder how many locals will be unable to pay their bills because of this proposal?
Could the U.S. Department of Interior consider an emergency withdrawal of federal lands near Yosemite National Park from hardrock mining activities? A L.A.-based NGO hopes so.
Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Wednesday , 28 Sep 2011
RENO, NV -
The Los Angeles based NGO Environment California is urging U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to deny any new mining claims within 50 miles of Yosemite National Park, as well as revoke active mining claims within 10 miles of Yosemite’s border.
The group claims 285 claims have been staked within 10 miles of the national park in the last five years.
“Mining companies, of course, can’t set up operations in Yosemite National Park,” says the Environment California website. “Incredibly the law does allow them to mine the land right next door.”
The group is particularly concerned that cyanide and other chemicals used to separate gold ore from rock “could run off into the Tuolumne River and the trails and wild lands that surround it.”
In an interview with California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, Mac Farrell, a preservation associate with Environment California, said he is hoping a measure–similar to the 1 million acre mining ban around the Grand Canyon National Park-will also ban mining near Yosemite.
In June, Interior Secretary Salazar announced his decision to make an emergency withdrawal of 1 million acres of federal lands near Grand Canyon National Park from hardrock mining claim location and entry for six months, which impacted 10,600 hardrock mining claims. 3,500 valid existing mining claims were not affected by the announcement.
An EIS to analyze the proposed withdrawal of these lands for up to 20 years is expected to be completed this fall.
Meanwhile, three California gold mines are now heading for production: Sutter Gold Mining in Amador County, the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Grass Valley and the Golden Queen Mine in Kern County.