The Draft EIS and other supporting documents have been posted for public review, according to a BLM news release dated July 22.
Under the Proposed Action, the project area would cover 6,456 public acres, on which 806 acres of surface disturbance would occur. No state or private lands are included.
The project life consists of 1.5 years of construction, seven years of operation, four years of active reclamation and closure, and up to 30 years of post-closure monitoring.
The 85-acre open pit would not be reclaimed.
The project area straddles the eastern boundary of the Fish Creek HMA, with roads coming in from the east.
Impacts to wild horses are discussed in Supplemental Environmental Report 17.
Under the Proposed Action, fencing would temporarily exclude 806 acres of surface disturbance plus an additional 413 acres of undisturbed lands.
The 85 acres in the open pit would be permanently lost, a question for the comment period. Reclaimed coal mines provide habitat for free-roaming horses in Kentucky.
The effects on wild horses from water management activities are expected to be negligible, short term and localized.
The project area lies within the Fish Creek Ranch Allotment.
Impacts to livestock are discussed in Supplemental Environmental Report 5.
Under the Proposed Action, 15.1 AUMs per year would be temporarily lost, with 1.4 AUMs per year permanently lost due to the open pit.
The temporary loss would equate to three cow/calf pairs on a five-month grazing season, consistent with the claim that impacts to livestock are anticipated to be minor, short term, and localized.
You could argue that resources taken from the horses were lost a long time ago, when they were assigned to the permittees.
Vanadium is used as an alloying element in steel, among other things.
Comments will be accepted through September 6.
An online public meeting will be held August 6 on Zoom from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Pacific Time.
The project will be pursued by Nevada Vanadium Mining Corporation. Refer to this news release for more information.
One thought on “Vanadium Mine Coming to Fish Creek HMA?”
The Mining operation should provide an ACEC elsewhere to mitigate the habitat lost for wild equids. https://eplanning.blm.gov/public_projects/lup/35315/47944/52063/ACEC_Guidance_BLM.pdf
In Defense of Animals, v. U.S. Dept. Interior, #12-17804, May 12, 2014) the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also recognized wild horses as native species, explaining that BLM “establishes Appropriate Management Levels(AMLs)for populations of native species – including wild horses, burros, and other wildlife – and introduced animals, such as livestock.”
The court in Mt. States v Hodel found that “In structure and purpose, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is nothing more than a land-use regulation enacted by Congress to ensure the survival of a particular species of wildlife.”