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Archive for April, 2011

Emgold’s latest press release, appearing in today’s The Union as an op-ed by David Watkinson, announces their submittal of drafts of the “revised executive summary, introduction, and project description.”

As I reported on April 8th, this appears to be in partial fulfillment of the City of Grass Valley’s April 8th deadline.

The press release also promises that Emgold’s revised project description deals more extensively with air quality problems, deemed “unmitigable” in the first draft Environmental Impact Report.

Watkinson also claims that the revised project description addresses local residents’ concerns about damage to wells:

Residents in the vicinity of the mine have expressed concerns that their domestic wells may be impacted by mine dewatering. The mining corporation has included in the project provision of an Nevada Irrigation District trunk line along East Bennett Road and feeder lines on roads proximate to East Bennett Road, to have an alternative supply of potable water available to hook up to residences should they be impacted.

It will be interesting to find out if Emgold has something specific worked out with NID, including pipeline easements on private property.

According to the press release issued on April 8th by the City of Grass Valley Community Development Department, the City is currently reviewing the “completeness” of the material submitted by IMMC:

The City will be reviewing the completeness of the April 8, 2011 submittal by IMMC. The City will then determine if the proposed project revisions are adequately described and all sections of the application appropriately amended to incorporate these changes. The intent of this review is to verify the completeness of the information. Once the application materials are viewed as complete, the City will request a proposal from a consultant team to update the previously prepared Draft EIR. Prior to preparing a revised Draft EIR, the City would need to execute an updated reimbursement agreement with IMMC to ensure all consultant and EIR processing costs are borne by IMMC. It is the intent of City staff to present an update of the IMMC application and the potential processing steps to the City Council at one of their regular meetings in May 2011.

There’s little more we can say about the new documents until we get a first-hand look at them, which we expect to be able to do soon.

Today’s op-ed by Watkinson is a word-for-word duplicate of Emgold’s most recent press-release, with paragraphs reformatted in The Union‘s usual minimalist eye-pleasing style.

Notice also that this particular op-ed, at over 1400 words in both the online and print editions, exceeds the normal 750-word limit imposed on most guest op-eds.

Curiously also, the commenting function on all Union articles is disabled today. Since the maximum comment period on all articles is two days, we can hope that the comment function is restored before the comment period elapses on this particular op-ed.

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As I reported here on April 6th, Idaho Maryland Mine Corporation CEO David Watkinson sent a new letter on March 31st (dated April 1st) signaling his intent to submit some preliminary documents updating their application by April 8th, the deadline set by the City of Grass Valley last fall.

According to a new press release sent today to Yubanet from the Grass Valley Community Development Department, the City has now received “updated components” of IMMC’s application, including a Draft Executive Summary and Project Description.

The central and most important document remaining for us to see is the updated Project Description itself.

Stay tuned for our analysis of that in coming days.

The most important sentence in Joe Heckel’s press release today is this:

“The April 2011 application submittal by IMMC will require the previously prepared Draft EIR to be revised, updated and re-released for a public review period.”

The best, most comprehensive background on this subject is available in the Yubanet series of articles (2005-present), “Golden Gamble in Grass Valley.”

For the Sierra Voices complete series of articles on this subject (2009-present), click here.

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Idaho-Maryland Mine Corporation’s CEO David Watkinson submitted a new letter (dated March 31, 2011) to Joe Heckel, City of Grass Valley’s Community Development Director.

Mr. Watkinson says in his letter that IMM Corp. plans to submit by April 8th (among other things) the “working draft” of a Revised Project Description.

He continues:

“Subsequent to your review and comment on these draft documents, we will submit the final project application package, inclusive of the Revised Project Description, with the target date of April 29th.”

Did the City (in private conversations?) indicate to Mr. Watkinson that it would accept drafts in satisfaction of the April 8th deadline? Has the definition of the word, “deadline,” changed? According to this latest letter, meetings between IMMC and the City have been taking place “over the past several weeks,” so possibly something was said to that effect? Do transcripts of these meetings exist? If the public has the right to see written communications related to the project, shouldn’t it also have the right to see transcripts of verbal communications on the same subject?

Or, possibly these conversations were nothing more than routine chats with Planning Department staff?

Later in the letter, Mr. Watkinson implies that the City has not already decided whether to require a Revised Draft EIR:

The City has indicated that it would make a formal decision on the requirement for a Revised Draft EIR for the Project upon submittal of the 2011 Revised Project Description.”

But the City has already made that decision. Here’s what Joe Heckel said on that subject in an interview with Paul Emery on KVMR last November:

JOE: “Yes, what would occur is — let’s just walk through he steps — is the applicant would be filing those new changes with the city — and those changes could deal with a number of points of their operations — then we would commission a draft EIR to be prepared. We would utilize a lot of the information already collected and compiled in the previous EIR but we would focus a lot of our critique and analysis on the new changes. But we would have a new draft EIR — called a “new” — but an updated draft EIR prepared and released for a public review period in which the public would be provided an opportunity to fully look at the document and walk through what the issues and concerns would be with the project.”

We may hear more from Mr. Watkinson in a few days, if he lives up to his promise to meet the April 8th “deadline.”

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