The summer in Gunnison County is full of adventure and glory. Remote backcountry is accessible. Wildflowers cover high mountain valleys and low-land meadows. And, perhaps the most glorious of all — Red Lady guarding the western edge of Crested Butte shows her true summer colors, deep red soil from which vibrant green vegetation sprouts.
Whether you’re a long-standing Gunnison County resident, more recent arrival, or visitor, we all share in common a love for our mountains, clean water, and high quality mountain living. It’s what brought you here in the first place, right?
Yet, a dark cloud obscures the otherwise perfect mountain summer sun. This cloud has shadowed the Valley for over 37 years: a proposed molybdenum mine at the headwaters of the Gunnison River on Red Lady.
Because of generous supporters, like you, this dark cloud stays at bay! All the work High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) does to permanently protect Red Lady and ensure our clean water, cannot be done without your generous support. Can I count on your continued support so we can continue our efforts that protect Red Lady and our clean water?
It’s your membership and support that allows HCCA to tirelessly protect the Upper Gunnison River Basin Valley from a molybdenum mine. You’ve played a role in our work over nearly four decades that’s contributed to multiple potential mine developers walking away!
We must be as united as ever in the face of U.S. Energy’s stated intention and recent efforts to take the next steps towards mine development. U.S. Energy is already working to get a Plan of Operations for conducting baseline data testing ―a necessary step in the pursuit of a mine― through the Forest Service approval process.
Please join our effort by making a tax-deductible donation TODAY! Together we can keep our water clean and our community safe and free of a molybdenum mine!
Now, rather than an extractive resource-based boom-bust economy, the Valley has a strong recreation and tourism-based economy. This economy is dependent on clean water and pristine mountains ― all the reasons why you love it here.
Will you make a tax-deductible gift today so HCCA can continue to protect why you love it here?
Despite best efforts, the mine threat and other related threats still remain. I often hear, “There’s no way a mine will be built on Red Lady―there’s no threat! Just look at the underwhelming market for molybdenum!”
Yet, as long as the company, U.S. Energy, has vested interests in deposits on Red Lady, there is a real and pressing threat to our clean water, sustainable economy, and quality of life.
Need proof? Let me walk you through an example that’s unfolded over the last six months—
U.S. Energy proposed to passively treat contaminated water that fills four adits (underground mine entrances) at the Historic Keystone Mine site. Instead of treating the contaminated water at their existing water treatment plant, the company would install concrete plugs (“bulkheads”), behind which the water would back up. The water would then be passively treated while in the adit and on exiting the adit as allowed through the concrete plug.
Don’t get me wrong, HCCA is all for the proper and protective cleanup of mine contamination. What we were concerned about is that after our own and hired expert review of the proposal, it’s clear that, as it currently stands, it’s nowhere near safe and effective to ensure successful clean-up and safe-guard our clean water.
I am proud to say that HCCA’s work on this issue was successful! Our work contributed to the state agency’s withdrawal of preliminary approval of U.S. Energy’s proposal. The state agency has also requested U.S. Energy to provide additional information necessary to demonstrate the cleanup would be safe and effective.
Rather than committing to a proper cleanup, U.S. Energy withdrew its proposal and announced that instead it will opt to focus on mine development. Together, these two actions clearly demonstrate that U.S. Energy is not interested in protecting our water and our community from negative health and environmental impacts of mining. Our work to protect our community from this ill-devised proposed mine continues. We must also stay focused on the long-term goal of permanent protection for Red Lady. We need your generous support to continue our successful work.
So, can I count on your generous tax-deductible gift so HCCA can protect our clean water and pristine mountains? Will you support HCCA’s efforts to find a permanent solution, ending the mine threat once and for all?
Our success is dependent on your generosity! Please renew your membership and donate today!
Allison N. Melton
Public Lands Director
P.S. I hope you will continue your support as we do everything we can to protect our drinking water and find a community-supported permanent solution to the mine threat! Please help us Save Red Lady!