Thursday, July 14, 2011

If these two news items don’t alarm lovers of the Ivanpah area, nothing will.

http://www.ivpressonline.com/news/quicknews/ivp-train-from-las-vegas-to-calif-gets-environment-ok--20110713,0,4936303.story

Maybe you might or not might not remember reading my take on this particular boondoggle written about 9 months ago. Yes folks, The Las Vegas to Where??? Desert Xpress has been approved, announced of course by that
famous master of boondoggles, Senator Harry Reid!

Go back and read my article for timely information that makes as much sense now as it did then, just remember this rail line will cut through part of the Mojave National Preserve and go right through the Ivanpah Valley, already being raped as you read this by Bechtel and BrightSource Energy, with the state of California CEC and the federal BLMDOI and Fish and Wildlife departments pulling the train.

Just another nail in the Ivanpah Valley coffin, but wait there’s more!

As mentioned the other day at the Mojave Desert Blog, what- you didn’t see this? Go here to read the alarming news that Shaun has discovered. Some outfit calling themselves Elissa Resources has acquired a whole slew of
mining claims in Nevada close to the Mojave National Preserve and the
Ivanpah Valley and is looking to start up a rare earths mining operation.

Think open pit mines, huge tailing piles, and toxic waste sludge percolating its’
way into the underground aquifers if it isn’t contained. After all there is a history of just that happening next door thanks to the rare earth mining operation at Mountain Pass, just a few miles up the hill from this area.
021511mojavedesertcross 002

Looking out across the freeway at part of the MolyCorp rare earth mining operation at Mountain Pass, California.

Take a look at this Google Map image which was put together by Shaun over at the Mojave Desert Blog, the areas inside the blue lines are where the mines could be potentially located.
ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 14 17.15

Looks just like harmless lines on a map doesn’t it? If you look to the right of the top blue rectangle where it says 164, that area 5 miles long north of 164 Hwy is the small and beautiful Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness, already under threat from off-roaders; how much of a threat do you you think a giant mine possibly adjacent to the west side will be to the wilderness? Oh and don’t forget the South McCullough wilderness as well as the Mojave National Preserve are just close by to all 3 of the possible mining sites.
ScreenHunter_02 Jul. 14 17.42

Above is a satellite view of the rare earth mine setup at Mountain Pass, think this won’t damage the area near Wee Thump for example? It won’t harm the scenic nature of the area, of course the apologists will say.

Look here folks, this is a very serious threat in my opinion. The modern day world of computers, and electronic high tech gadgets require these rare earths, the vast majority of which are found and mined in China. Our military, the most advanced in the world, depends on these rare earths being readily available. Recently, China in a trade spat with Japan, shut off all rare earth exports to Japan, and that was only lifted not long ago. I can foresee instances where I believe countries might even go to war over these rare earths. I guarantee our military would love to see these mines open up to ensure a continued supply of these raw materials.

So in my humble opinion, this is an overwhelming danger to the Ivanpah Valley, the Mojave National Preserve, and other scenic wilderness in the direct vicinity of these mining claims and leases.

I also believe that this Elissa Resources will be able to count on the full weight of the federal and state governments backing them on this play. Count on it, that’s how important these materials are to maintaining this new high tech world we live in.

And unlike the unproven technology at Ivanpah SEGS, this mining is easy for Wall Street to understand, and to package, and to sell, sell, sell to hedge funds, venture capitalists etc- there will be no dearth of funding I believe if ore sample tests continue coming up rich. Wall Street insiders will think it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, lining up the suckers wanting to get in on this next bonanza.

It will all depend on the assays and projected market conditions, along with national security and geopolitical considerations, as well as money availability.
Think the government might be willing to step in again as the banker of last resort if needed?

There you go another depressing post about the overwhelming danger facing the Ivanpah Valley and its’ surroundings. Sorry, I didn’t make this stuff up, and I don’t think too many will disagree with my assessment of the dangers. But being one blogger’s opinion only, feel free to disagree at will via the comments section if so desired.

After all, one man’s opinion might be another’s hyperbole.

If I had to take a guess, I think there probably will be a better chance of stopping the high speed rail project than the rare earth mine project- one our
opponents can argue the need for with a straight face, the other might be defeated as a typical political pork giveaway to the special interests, kind of like the proverbial Alaska Bridge to Nowhere that was killed.

But it will only happen if average citizens take an interest and demand action to stop them, something I believe even the most “true believer” activist deep in his or her heart knows will not occur, without a miracle happening that somehow galvanizes public opinion against the industrialization and reawakens a love for wilderness amongst the people.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for the people to gain awareness and consciousness of environmental issues as pertain to the deserts and wilderness.

Read it and weep.

Morongobill

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