May 27, 2019

Who Needs ESA When There’s a Fascist Government?

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced at a ceremony yesterday outside Denver that the greater sage grouse will not be listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Jewell also announced final approval of the federal grouse plans that amend 98 BLM and Forest Service land-use plans to incorporate grouse protections that buffer the bird’s prime breeding habitats from oil and gas development, hardrock mining, transmission lines and wind turbines (Greenwire, Sept. 22).

The federal plans establish primary habitat management areas and general habitat management areas. The 10 million acres of proposed mining withdrawals cover designated “sagebrush focal areas” — a subset of the primary habitat management areas that are considered “essential for the species’ survival,” and which the agencies will “offer the highest protections in these anchor areas,” according to the plans.

Source: Interior proposes banning new mining on 10M sage grouse acres | WyoFile

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Mining Wars Cometh!

“For the past several years, the miners from the Galice Mining District, about 3o minutes west of Grants Pass, Oregon, have been arguing over who has the rights to the minerals in the ground around Galice Creek. The Galice mining district is compiled of a number of claims, owners and miners and has been in continuous operation since the early 1870’s, which makes it one of the longest running operations in the US. This specific operation predates the BLM bureaucracy by many decades in fact.”<<<Read More>>>

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Lead Mercury Researcher Member of Environmentalist Group Working to Ban Mining

For Immediate Release

FEDS ADMIT LEAD MERCURY RESEARCHER A MEMBER OF ENVIRO GROUP

In a recently released report the US Geological Survey admitted a mercury researcher was a member of an environmental group which lobbied for the California suction dredging ban.

Following a request for an investigation by the Western Mining Alliance (WMA), the Department of Interior released their final report looking into allegations of scientific misconduct by one of their scientists.
The WMA challenged the findings of a 2011 report prepared by Dr. Charles Alpers, of the US Geological Survey (USGS), which concluded suction gold dredging equipment increased mercury levels in streams. The WMA alleged the scientist withheld five years of data and was also a member of an environmental group which was lobbying for a prohibition on suction dredging equipment.

The final report acknowledged Dr. Alpers was not only a member of the environmental group, The Sierra Fund (TSF), but was also on the Board of Advisors of TSF, a position which determined policy and strategy for the group.

The Sierra Fund, based in Nevada City, California, lobbied the California legislature for a permanent ban on suction dredging equipment citing the results of Alper’s report as evidence there was a significant threat to the environment.

“There’s just one problem,” said Craig Lindsay, president of the WMA, “He claimed there was only one year of data available, but we did a Freedom of Information Act request and it turns out he withheld an additional five years of data. The inclusion of the additional data shows no linkage whatsoever, but shows a strong linkage to the size of the spring floods.”

The controversy surrounding the use of suction gold mining equipment has led to a six year ban on the equipment which miners are challenging in court. The miners won their first legal victory from a California Appeals Court in September and appear poised to win a second victory later this month, effectively overturning the ban.

“We were shocked by the deliberate withholding of the data”,said Lindsay. “That Alpers belonged to an environmental group which was lobbying for the ban seemed a little too convenient. The full data set shows no evidence of linkage. The data shows mercury levels in insects have increased significantly since the ban was imposed.”

Despite his membership in the environmental group, and withholding the data the US Geological Survey investigation concluded there was no conflict of interest.

“…the research chemist’s membership in TSF was authorized and complemented USGS interests.” The investigation concluded. The report further justified Alper’s actions by stating “There is a growing trend for people to file scientific integrity complaints in an effort to change legislative decisions they do not like.”

“All we wanted was honest research,not science based on advocacy,” said Lindsay, “Three consecutive California Water Board studies over ten years have shown no linkage between California gold miners and increased mercury. The Alper’s Report was a bit of an outlier to those studies which made us wonder why.”

You can read the publically available USGS report at
http://www.doi.gov/oig/reports/upload/USGSMisconductConflictofInterestPublic.pdf

You can read the WMA article on the report at
http://www.westernminingalliance.org

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