McCall says 'No' to
by Monica Gokey
The release of arsenic, cyanide, mercury and other heavy metals are the result of nearly a century of mining,
and were happening long before Midas Gold Corporation acquired the site about 10 years ago.
On Monday, the McCall City Council decided not to sign a community agreement with the mining company Midas Gold.
City leaders decided to wait until a draft environmental impact statement is released later this summer, before drafting their own memorandum of understanding with the mining company.
Midas Gold is undergoing the permitting process to re-open the nearby Stibnite mine.
The chief purpose of the community agreement is to open a line of communication between the mine and the communities where it operates.
Most surrounding cities have already signed the agreement, including Riggins, Yellow Pine, Cascade, Donnelly, New Meadows and Council -- plus both Idaho and Adams counties.
Signing the agreement means communities get to put a representative on an advisory council that'll have the ear of the mine. They'll also get to put a representative on the board of a forthcoming charitable foundation related to the company.
Midas Gold has said that joining the community agreement is not necessarily an endorsement of the mine. Critics of the agreement say the mining company should've waited for the release of an environmental impact statement before asking communities to sign on.
The majority of public comment heard at Monday's city council meeting was from people opposed to the project.
Apart from McCall, Valley County has also not yet signed the community agreement.
Audio from Monday's meeting and a draft of the community agreement can be found on the city of McCall's website.
Gold Mine Plan in Central Idaho Wilderness Draws Objections by Keith Ridler, Washington Times, 3/22/15
Report States Need to Protect Rivers, by Staff, Idaho Mountain Express, 3/4/15
McCall City Council Unanimously Votes to
Take Pause on Midas Gold Initiated Agreement
On January 7, 2019, McCall City Council held a special session to consider signing the Midas Gold Community Agreement regarding the proposed Stibnite mining project. Following the educational lecture series and hearing testimony from more than sixty attendees and considering more than one hundred email submittals, letters and public comments, McCall's leaders decided to take pause.
The Community Agreement was presented by Midas Gold as a formal commitment to information sharing prior to and during the proposed mining project while giving City of McCall a seat on their foundation board that would provide financial assistance to community applicants based on the mine's success.
As Counselor Nielsen pointed out, there is "pretty broad opposition in our city and it's the point in time we need to listen to what our people have to say." After deliberation between Council members, it became apparent the main concerns were the want for more information from the upcoming Environmental Impact Study (EIS) draft and binding the city to the foundation as a part of the Community Agreement.
After a motion by Counselor Holmes to reconvene after the release of the (EIS) and then draft an independent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between McCall and Midas Gold, it was seconded and passed with a unanimous vote.
Although McCall leaders chose not to enter into the Midas drafted contract, they were all in agreement that good communication is the key to success for both parties. As Mayor Aymon said to the crowd, "your hearts and souls are invested in this community and so are ours." Keeping the best interest of McCall's citizens at the forefront remains the goal.
The Stibnite draft EIS is estimated to be released in late Summer of 2019, following, Council expects to review that document with staff and then develop language for an MOU that reflects the specific needs of McCall and the impacts of the proposed mine to the public and its infrastructure.
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