Suspension of Public Comment Periods and Permitting of Mines During the COVID-19 Emergency

PRESS RELEASE: Nevada Environmental Organizations Ask Governor Sisolak to Suspend Mining Public Comment Periods During COVID-19 Crisis


(LAS VEGAS) — As a response to the COVID-19 health emergency, local environmental groups PLAN, Center of Biological Diversity and Great Basin Resource Watch released a letter urging Governor Sisolak to direct the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the State Water Engineer to immediately suspend all upcoming comment periods for mines, as well as a suspension of any mine permits granted since our state declaration of emergency on March 12, 2020.


The letter highlights that while there are claims that safety measures have been taken, it is imperative for the safety and health of Nevadans not only during the current crisis, but for generations to come that Governor Sisolak suspends public comment periods and mining permits. Mining operations are not essential services, and moving forward with the industry while leaving the public unable to be informed or speak on both current and future projects is not within the spirit of Stay Home for Nevada. The release of this letter and it’s demands is a gesture to protect mine workers, healthcare workers, and our community.


The letter is available here.


Patrick Donnelly, Nevada State Director, Center for Biological Diversity, said:


“We are so disappointed that the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is pushing through dirty mining permits during a pandemic. Nevadans are afraid for their families and their jobs right now, and shouldn’t be expected to pay attention to mining permitting at this time. We expect this from Trump, but we had hoped for better from the Sisolak administration.”


Ian Bigley, Mining Justice Organizer, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said:


“Some mines will drain acid for thousands of years after the corporation leaves. When the mineral is gone the company leaves, and it’s the local communities and the state that pay the real cost of business for generations. That is why it is essential that the public is involved in the process”


John Hadder, Executive Director, Great Basin Resource Watch, said:


“The agencies are doing a disservice to the public by maintaining a “business-as-usual” posture with respect to permitting when there is a public engagement component.”


# # #


Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada was founded by Nevada activists, working to build a more fair and just Nevada since 1994. We are a coalition of more than two dozen progressive organizations dedicated to social, economic, and environmental justice.


The Center for Biological Diversity works through science, law and creative media to secure a future for all species, great or small, hovering on the brink of extinction.


Great Basin Resource Watch works with communities in the Great Basin to protect their land, air, and water from the adverse effects of industrial development and resource extraction.