McGuire Fights to Protect Smith River – Strip Mine Water Application Pulled

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sacramento, CA – Two days after State Senator Mike McGuire introduced legislation calling on Congress to protect the Smith River, the Panama-based Red Flat Nickel Corporation has withdrawn its water application from the Oregon Water Resources Department.

“I'm grateful to join with Congressman Huffman to fight this devastating proposal and I am pleased to see the mining company reconsidering their plans. That said, now is the time to ensure the entire Smith River watershed is protected forever which means our work is far from over,” McGuire said.

Thousands of Northern Californians — including the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, Crescent City Council and the Smith River Alliance — worked together to stop the mining company from getting a license to use water from the Smith River for a devastating strip mine. 

McGuire’s legislation was officially known as SJR 03, or the Smith River Watershed Protection measure.  The resolution urged 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 were Senators Mark Leno and Fran Pavley (Chair of Senate Natural Resources), along with Assemblymembers Jim Wood, Marc Levine, Bill Dodd, Mark Stone (Chair of Assembly Natural Resources) 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 continue to work tirelessly, along with Congressman Jared Huffman, 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.

For more information or questions, please contact Jason Liles, Chief of Staff, at 916-651-4002 or at 707-570-7070, or email him at Jason.Liles@sen.ca.gov.