Summary of Public Comment Requirements under NEPA

On September 26, 2017, a public comment hearing was held in Battle Mountain, NV for a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) of the proposed expansion of Newmont USA Limited’s Greater Phoenix mine pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Under NEPA federal agencies must provide advice and information in restoring, maintaining, and enhancing the quality of the environment to states, counties, municipalities, institutions, and individuals, (section 102 (2) (G)). The intent of this process is to allow the public to aid the agency in identifying impacts that would not be adequately addressed, and gaps in information/analysis. Additionally the federal agency (Bureau of Land Management, BLM) must request comments of appropriate state and local agencies which are authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards; including Native American communities when reservations are affected. This public comment hearing did not address impacts to current treatment issues, and did not adequately involve Battle Mountain Shoshone.

Phoenix Mine looking south. PC: John Hadder, Great Basin Resource Watch (GBRW)

Summary of Perpetuity Issues

The Greater Phoenix Mine site is 12 miles south of Battle Mountain in Lander county Nevada, and is a poster-child of shortsighted prescriptive management. The current project site is projected to require treatment for more than 500 years; making it a treatment in perpetuity site. The core issue being the accumulation of sulfuric acid in open pit lakes. Sulfuric acid is produced when underground deposits of sulfite are exposed to water and air which causes it to react, forming sulfuric acid. Current mitigation is limited to adding neutralizing agents to the pit lakes in attempt to maintain a pH from 6–8 (Nevada water quality standard). Newmont is working with the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP) to address this problem, and has committed $500,000,000.00 to build a treatment facility and operate it for its first 100 years. A trust fund will have to be set up in order to fund the operation of the treatment facility indefinitely.

Read the rest of this piece under PLAN’s Environmental Justice Online Publication on Medium.

Call to Action!

  1. The current Draft EIS will be open to public comment until October 16
  2. Review the draft EIS on the BLM website: https://tinyurl.com/BLMwebsite
  3. You can send a written comment to Christine Gabriel, Greater Phoenix Project Manager, at the below contact information:

Websitegoo.gl/JwgwXA
Email: blm_nv_bmdo_GreaterPhoenixProject@blm.gov
Fax: (775) 635–4034
Mail: Bureau of Land Management
Mount Lewis Field Office
50 Bastian Road
Battle Mountain, NV 89820

Contact Ian Bigley at PLAN to get involved, http://getinvolved.planevada.org

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