BHCP members met with the Humboldt-Toiyabe USFS staff to see if more could be done to protect the area where OceanaGold plans exploratory drilling. We raised many concerns at the meeting regarding the project and secured a few assurances that will help protect the ecosystem and wildlife. Bi-state Sage Grouse use this area, and it features rich seeps and springs.
David Risley, the USFS project lead, offered an opinion that it was unlikely activity on this project would proceed in 2020. OceanaGold has only one year to finish drilling under a categorical exemption once they break ground. He told us that the company recently closed their Reno office and had not yet assigned a project lead in their South Carolina office. Risley conveyed an impression that this project was not a priority project for Oceana in 2020.