Thacker Pass Lithium Mine Opposed By 4 Conservation Groups

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

With 4 conservation and public accountability groups filing for a preliminary injunction in the Federal District Court in Reno, the construction of the Thacker Pass lithium mine has taken center stage. The motion for preliminary injunction and the prior legal complaint allege that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated federal laws when it approved the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine’s Plans of Operation on January 15, 2021, including the National Environmental Policy Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

Major mine construction on thousands of acres of public land is planned to begin in the fall.

The BLM had only begun its environmental review process during 2020, yet the mine’s fast-tracked approval came just days before the Biden administration was ready to take office. Resource studies at the mine site, which are expected to begin on or soon after June 23, 2021, are likely to disturb cultural sites. The mine site studies will include:

  • surface disturbance,
  • mechanized trench excavation, and
  • removal of wildlife habitat and vegetation.

The Fort McDermitt Paiute, Shoshone, and other tribes have not been properly consulted about the potential impacts to their sacred ground, although the Thacker Pass mine would be built on their traditional lands.

The Biden administration has not moved to promote more environmentally friendly options to extract lithium — like lithium brine extraction instead of open pit mines. Federal and state officials will decide which of the 2 methods — or both — will be approved. Much will depend on how successful environmentalists, tribes, and local groups are in blocking projects.

Thacker Pass is critically important to wildlife because it is an important habitat linkage between the Double H Mountains to the Montana Mountains, according to the Great Basin Resource Watch. The pass also provides lower-elevation habitat that wildlife need to survive the winter.

It contains thousands of acres of the most important type of greater sage-grouse habitat, designated as Priority Habitat in federal plans, and two pronghorn migration corridors. Golden eagles nesting in the nearby cliffs and canyons forage here for food to feed their chicks. Local springs are the only place in the world where the Kings River pyrg, a rare type of springsnail, are known to live.

You can read the whole article HERE.

Source: Clean Technica