McGuire’s resolution protecting the Smith River passes

SJR 3 urges Congress to permanently safeguard the river from strip mining

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sacramento, CA – A Senate Joint Resolution authored by Senator Mike McGuire protecting the Smith River watershed from strip-mining was made official last week after approval on both the Assembly and Senate floors.

North Coast Senator Mike McGuire advocated for Smith River protection by urging his fellow legislators to help him ensure the state’s premiere wild and scenic river would be protected 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.

“Any future mining activities will unnecessarily put the people and wildlife that rely on the Smith River at risk and would create irreversible impacts to the entire watershed,” Senator McGuire said.

The resolution originally passed in the Senate in April, and was up for a full floor vote in the Assembly when, in a show of solidarity for the North Coast, 42 members of the State Assembly added their names as co-authors of the resolution. The resolution went back to the Senate for final approval with the new co-author requests and was finally approved last week.

SJR 3 – the Smith River Watershed Protection measure – 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. 

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.

Support for the resolution is broad and includes the United States Department of the Interior, California State Parks, the Crescent City Council, Del Norte Board of Supervisors, the Smith River and Elk Valley Rancherias, Trout Unlimited and many more.