Sacramento, CA – State Senator Mike McGuire introduced legislation today – joining with Congressman Jared Huffman - calling on Congress to protect Northern California’s only wild river from the devastating effects of a proposed strip-mining operation along the North Fork of the Smith River in southern Oregon, just over the California border.
“The Smith River is one of the last unspoiled rivers in the west, and I plan to keep it that way,” said McGuire.
The legislation is officially known as SJR 03, or the Smith River Watershed Protection measure. The resolution urges the President of the United States and Congress to permanently safeguard the currently unprotected North Fork of the Smith River watershed in Oregon from any mining activities. Co-authoring the resolution are Senators Mark Leno and Fran Pavley, along with Assemblymembers Jim Wood, Marc Levine, Bill Dodd, Mark Stone and Das Williams.
Recently, the Panama-based Red Flat Nickel Corporation submitted a plan to drill up to 59 test mine shafts on 3,980 acres, which could allow for one of the largest nickel, cobalt and chromium mines in the Western United States. Any mining would have irreversible negative impacts to water supplies, the North Coast’s economy and the environment in California’s portion of the Smith River Watershed.
“Mining of any kind in the Smith River Watershed is simply unacceptable. I will work tirelessly to protect our river, which is one of the premier salmon fisheries in the lower 48 states and the source of drinking water for tens of thousands of residents in Del Norte County, including Crescent City,” said McGuire.
The Smith River is the primary source of drinking water for the majority of Del Norte County’s 28,000 residents, and is a crucial waterway for the endangered Coho salmon and other important fish runs. The Smith also offers a multitude of recreational activities that are a primary driver of the Del Norte economy.