[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
> To 
> 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."]
> 
> http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2008/2008-11-24-02.asp
> 
> 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 
> Nation."
> 
> 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 
> revoked.
> 
> 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 
> production.
> 
> 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
> Oxfam)
> 
> 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 
> governments."
> 
> 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. 
> Tenabo."
> 
> 
> -- 
> 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
> Canada
> http://www.miningwatch.ca
> Skype: jamiekneen
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