[IMC-DC] FW: Shoshone Indians Sue to Stop Barrick's Nevada Gold Mine
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--- On Wed, 11/26/08, Ann Taylor <tiaanntiaann at hotmail.com> wrote:
From: Ann Taylor <tiaanntiaann at hotmail.com>
Subject: FW: Shoshone Indians Sue to Stop Barrick's Nevada Gold Mine
To: "jason pope" <jason_pope81 at yahoo.com>, "guin" <guinstigator at yahoo.com>, "gregor" <gregornot at gmail.com>, "shayne del cohen" <shayne at sprintmail.com>, "georgia barros" <georgiab at nezperce.org>, "Angele Smith" <smith.angele at shopai.org>, bear89101 at hotmail.com, dahnahse at yahoo.com, "daniel satala" <daniel_satala at yahoo.com>, "debbie blossom" <tosawihiclanwoman at yahoo.com>, eelenaatkins at yahoo.com, "gloria thomas" <gloriathomas47 at hotmail.com>, "john crum" <toyatepia at yahoo.com>
Date: Wednesday, November 26, 2008, 4:59 PM
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Just a copy for your information.
> From: wsdp at igc.org
> To: wsdp at igc.org
> Subject: FW: Shoshone Indians Sue to Stop Barrick's Nevada Gold Mine
> Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 23:14:42 -0800
> From Environmental News Service...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jamie Kneen [mailto:jamie at miningwatch.ca]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 1:08 PM
> Subject: ENS: Shoshone Indians Sue to Stop Barrick's Nevada Gold Mine
> [Adds reaction from company, BLM. Favourite quote: "The Cortez Hills
> Project has been the object of criticism from activists who oppose
> mining and support failed claims of Native American title to much of
> Nevada's public lands."]
> Shoshone Indians Sue to Stop Barrick's Nevada Gold Mine
> By Lisa J. Wolf
> CRESCENT VALLEY, Nevada, November 24, 2008 (ENS) - Five tribal and
> public interest parties filed a lawsuit in Nevada Federal Court on
> Thursday, seeking an immediate injunction to stop one of the largest
> open pit cyanide heap leach gold mines in the United States - the
> Cortez Hills Expansion Project on Mt. Tenabo.
> Canadian Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold mining company, plans
> to construct and operate the mine in an area that the lawsuit states
> is "located entirely within the territory of the Western Shoshone
> The permit was granted on November 12, and the $500 million mine
> construction project could begin as early as this week
> "After years of determined opposition from Western Shoshone, the U.S.
> Department of Interior, through its Bureau of Land Management
> approved one of the largest open pit cyanide heap leach gold mines in
> the United States on the flank of Mount Tenabo," the plaintiffs said
> in a joint statement.
> They described the area as "well-known for its spiritual and cultural
> importance to the Western Shoshone" and "home to local Shoshone
> creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and ceremonial plants
> and items" which "continues to be used to this day by Shoshone for
> spiritual and cultural practices."
> Mt. Tenabo, the sacred mountain (Photo courtesy Western Shoshone
> Defense Project)
> The plaintiff groups are - the South Fork Band Council of Western
> Shoshone of Nevada, the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the Western Shoshone
> Defense Project, Great Basin Mine Watch and the nonprofit Western
> Mining Action Project, which provides free legal services for citizen
> groups and Native American tribes on hardrock mining issues in the
> Western U.S. and Alaska. They are asking that the mining permit be
> Kathleen Holly says, "I visit Mt. Tenabo to pray to the Creator and
> to the life force of the world that resides in the mountain."
> "The proposed Cortez Hills mine pit, along with its waste dumps and
> other mining facilities would be located right where I go to pray,"
> Holly says. "BLM is wrong to limit the importance of Mt. Tenabo to
> Western Shoshone people to just the top of the mountain," which is
> owned by Barrick.
> The Shoshone maintain that Mt. Tenabo and its environs are part of
> the ancestral land of the Western Shoshone, which has never been
> legally ceded to the federal government. Nevertheless, U.S.
> politicians and multinational corporations ignore the 1863 treaty
> between the U.S. government and the Western Shoshone, treating sacred
> land as a public resource to be mined for gold, the tribe says.
> Barrick's Director of External Communications Louis Schack declined
> to comment on the lawsuit.
> Gerald Smith, director of the BLM Battle Mountain Field Office, who
> along with the Department of the Interior and BLM is named in the
> suit, said Friday, "We complied with all the laws of Congress" and
> said he believes "all the actions are in compliance with the
> regulations we have to operate under."
> Smith said, "We did appropriate consultation," and stated, "We've
> done, I think, a very outstanding and thorough job in issuing the
> best decision we can."
> Smith says he knew there was going to be a court challenge once the
> project was approved. "There's a difference in opinion and we'll
> proceed from there," he said.
> "This is a vitally important achievement for Barrick and for the
> communities where we do business in Nevada," said Greg Lang,
> president of Barrick's North America region. "The Cortez Hills
> project creates new economic development and job opportunities in
> rural Nevada at a time when other industry projects in Nevada are
> being shelved and jobs are being lost."
> The Cortez property is expected to begin producing in the first half
> of 2010, with average annual production increasing to about 1.0
> million ounces of gold for each of the first full five years of
> There is a division of opinion also within the Shoshone tribal group
> over the gold mine.
> Barrick recently signed a Collaborative Agreement with leaders of
> several Western Shoshone communities in Nevada to work together in
> partnership to improve education, business and employment
> opportunities for the Western Shoshone, enhance awareness of Native
> culture and to build greater mutual understanding.
> The agreement establishes a Western Shoshone Educational Legacy Fund
> tied directly to revenues from the Cortez Hills mine. The Fund is
> expected to provide financial support for generations of Western
> Shoshone seeking higher education.
> Lang said on November 12, "The Cortez Hills Project has been the
> object of criticism from activists who oppose mining and support
> failed claims of Native American title to much of Nevada's public
> lands. These groups are threatening litigation against the BLM's
> approval of the Cortez Hills EIS. The company will vigorously and
> expeditiously oppose any challenge."
> The planned open pit mine on Mt. Tenabo will cover over 900 acres to
> a depth of 2,000 feet. New waste disposal and processing facilities
> are planned, including a cyanide heap-leaching facility, consisting
> of 1,577 million tons of waste rock, 53 million tons of tailings
> material, and 112 million tons of spent heap leach material.
> The mine through an extensive groundwater pumping system will dewater
> Mt. Tenabo and "permanently destroy approximately 6,800 acres of land
> on and around Mt. Tenabo, over 90 percent of which is classified as
> federal 'public' land."
> Larson Bill, vice-chairman of the South Fork Band Council, asks, "How
> are we, as a nation, showing our values, if we allow a transnational
> corporation to destroy this 'church' for all time, just to get 10
> years worth of gold."
> Bill said that while Barrick has tried "to cloud the real issues with
> gifts and money, we continue to oppose this project."
> "They have not bought our people, the traditions nor the lands of the
> Shoshone," he said.
> Carrie Dann prays for the Earth (Photo by Erin Hetherington courtesy
> Carrie Dann of the Western Shoshone Defense Project, a recipient of
> the prestigious Right Livelihood Award, warned, "This mine will drain
> the water from Mount Tenabo" and will suck "the water out of the
> mountain forever."
> Dann characterizes the "destruction of the water" as "destruction of
> the blood of the earth" which entails "destroying life of the earth
> and the people and the wildlife that depend on it. Dewatering is
> taking the life of future generations."
> Julie Cavanaugh-Bill of the Western Shoshone Defense Project said,
> "The question that the courts and the people of this country need to
> ask themselves is will we continue to tolerate these violations
> against the First People of this land or will we finally turn the
> tide of injustice and protect these sacred areas?"
> Dan Randolph, executive director of Great Basin Resource Watch, said,
> "This is an example of how the Bush administration is rushing to
> protect their corporate friends in their last few months of power" as
> the "BLM denied requests to extend the comment period on the EIS not
> only from us, but also from several Western Shoshone tribal
> Randolph believes "Barrick will begin work on the mine as soon as
> they can, to cause enough harm in an attempt to make a religious
> rights argument moot, and the BLM and Bush administration appear to
> be more than willing to help them in every way possible."
> The lawsuit claims the "Western Shoshone religious and cultural uses
> of the Mine site will be permanently eliminated."
> The plaintiffs argue that "the BLM failed to adequately protect
> public and private resources, including the religious, cultural and
> environmental resources and uses at and around the Project site - the
> Trust Responsibility owed to Native Americans."
> By failing in this protection, the governments have violated the
> Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the Religious Freedom
> Restoration Act, the plaintiff groups claim.
> Drilling rig on the road through Crescent Valley (Photo courtesy
> Western Shoshone Defense Project)
> In addition, the lawsuit alleges the BLM "failed to fully evaluate
> the project's impacts as required by the National Environmental
> Policy Act.
> The BLM acknowledged in its 2004 Ethnographic Report that the "entire
> Mountain and pediment area, not just the top, was part of a Native
> American Traditional Cultural Property."
> Yet, the agency stated in its both in its final environmental impact
> statement, FEIS, and in its record of decsion that the "BLM knows of
> no Western Shoshone uses that would be prevented or uses or resources
> that would be destroyed by the proposed project."
> But the plaintiff groups point out that the "FEIS predicts that at
> least 22 springs or seeps, and at least one perennial stream, will
> suffer the loss or complete elimination of their flows." They
> maintain that these are waters that "are sacred to Western Shoshone
> people and are an integral part of their exercise of their religion."
> The plaintiffs also complain that the air pollution from the mine
> would violate legal standards when it comes to fine particle
> emissions. Health effects associated with exposure to PM25 fine
> particle emissions "include premature death, aggravation of heart and
> lung disease and asthma attacks," the point out.
> They claim that the gold mine violates the BLM'S own Visual Resource
> Management requirements to identify and protect scenic values on
> public lands set forth under two different laws and particularly
> would "constitute a severe visual intrusion into Western Shoshone
> religious/ceremonial sites."
> The plaintiffs point out to the court that the BLM received 14,631
> individual comments in opposition to the project from people around
> the world.
> The lawsuit mentions that the United Nations recently found the
> United States and BLM in violation of the Western Shoshone's rights
> "due to the ongoing and proposed Cortez/Barrick operations on Mt.
> Jamie Kneen
> Communications & Outreach Coordinator ofc. (613) 569-3439
> MiningWatch Canada cell: (613) 761-2273
> 250 City Centre Ave., Suite 508 fax: (613) 569-5138
> Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6K7 e-mail:
> jamie at miningwatch.ca
> Skype: jamiekneen
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