More than 15,000 Oregonians have signed a petition advocating the withdrawal of lands, located in SW Oregon watersheds, from mining and exploration.
RENO (MINEWEB) – More than 15,000 petition signatures, in favor of a mineral withdrawal for public lands in southwest Oregon watersheds, were delivered Tuesday to the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to be presented to the U.S. Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture.
The named “critical” watersheds include the North Fork Smith River, Baldface Creek, Rough & Ready Creek, and Hunter Creek.
“These signatures build upon the request of a broad coalition of local and national conservation groups to withdraw these public lands from mining in response to proposals for nickel strip mining in the area,” said a news release published Tuesday by Washington, D.C.-based environmental NGO, Earthworks.
The petition not only calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Rough & Ready and Baldface Creek watersheds from mining under the Mining Law of 1872; it also urges the enactment of legislation “to protect them from destructive nickel strip mining and permanently preserve their unique natural values”.
Minerals withdrawals from the 1872 Mining Law of up to 20 years can be issued by the Secretary of Interior under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). “An administrative withdrawal would prohibit both new mining claims and continued mining on invalid claims,” the Earthworks press release noted.
Portland, Oregon-based Red Flat Nickel, in which U.K.-based St Peter Port Capital Ltd holds the majority interest, controls two nickel laterite deposits in the Red Flat area of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forest, both located in Curry County, Oregon, home of the cities of Brookings, Gold Beach, and Port Orford.
Red Flat Nickels has stake claims on roughly 3,000 acres in the north Fork Smith River watershed adjacent to the Smith River National Recreation Area. The company has also staked claims on 2,000 acres of land in the headwaters of Hunter Creek and Pistol River, which opponents say provides “vital salmon and steelhead streams, and drinking water for local communities”.
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