April 25, 2014
To: Nevada Mining Association
From: Joe McCarthy, Comstock Residents Association
Subject: Earth Day 2014: Could Gold Hill and Silver City disappear from this earth?
The current Industrial scale mining on the Comstock is a “Billboard of Shame.” While a few investors make money, the Virginia Range’s sensitive environment is being obliterated, our precious wildlife habitats displaced and two of Nevada’s irreplaceable communities, Gold Hill & Silver City, emptied. Nevada is now being treated to a grotesque advertisement of excess and arrogance. We are witnesses to a mining company being allowed to dig up mountains, hills and valleys, pollute waterways & night skies, muck up pristine air, all within the boundaries of our communities, without recourse or repercussion.
This open pit mining on the Comstock is ruining forever what the local citizens worked so hard to achieve for the last half century, with sweat equity. Our diverse, prosperous communities have put mining in the rear mirror, a relic of history. We have built authentic Nevada communities that are home to small business, galleries and studios and robust town halls, all weaved into the fabric of great community life. To affirm this community building, our local governments concurred by instituting master plans and zoning restrictions, thus putting community first. All that is quickly unravelling in the face of money, influence and relentless promotion.
The Nevada Mining Association’s silence is deafening. Why can’t you acknowledge what is really going on? Comstock Mining Inc.’s tactics are standard corporate play book: divide the populace with promises and faux historic preservation; give a little money to needy nonprofits; generously fund the candidacies of favorable politicians; eliminate the landscape, but stabilize an old head frame.
Self interest is overriding the public good. We are being subjected to a dose of predictable doublespeak and the manipulation of our democratic process. Citizens’ voices have been drowned out by the empty promises of progress, “revitalization,” jobs and economic development. And, the zero sum game marches on to full production. The landscape is turned over. American Flat, Gold Hill and Silver City darken.
The absence of the NMA’s outrage defines where the Association stands. Your silence camouflages the truths hidden behind this horrible mistake. Mining within communities is wrong. Your silence reinforces the slippery banality, the absurdity, the contradictions, the endless empty rhetoric we have to endure from out-of-town money men, here to line their pockets.
If the NMA really wants legitimate chops that reflect sustainable community development and the spirit of Earth Day, speak out. The Virginia Range and its communities were designed for the ages. The horrors surrounding the industrial-strength mining of our mountains, valleys, our healthy environment and our vibrant communities is not up for debate. Your failure to police your own is unfathomable. Some day, Comstock Mining will be gone, turned to dust. In the meantime how do we endure? How do we exist?
Take action. Now is the right time to do the right thing.