Knowing that public opinion and the power of presence are key to ensuring the protection of public lands, environmental nonprofit Friends of the Inyo, in partnership with the Conglomerate Mesa Coalition, which includes local Tribes, environmental organizations, local businesses and community stakeholders, is hosting a “Protect Rally” on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 4, in Lone Pine, to oppose Canadian company K2 Gold’s proposed exploratory drilling at Conglomerate Mesa.
The rally will take place from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. at and around Spainhower Park, at 430 N. Main Street, and protest posters will be provided to participants.
The purpose of the rally is to bring the community together in defense of Conglomerate Mesa, and in resistance against a mining proposal by K2 Gold that could impact up to 15 acres of pristine desert lands that are sacred to Paiute-Shoshone and Timbisha-Shoshone peoples in Southern Inyo County, and a haven for thriving Joshua Trees and other threatened plants and animals. Currently, the Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input through Oct. 16, to help with the drafting of an Environmental Impact Statement, which it is requiring before exploratory drilling operations can begin.
Big Pine Paiute Tribal Member Paul Huette, who recently participated in an EcoFlight tour over Conglomerate Mesa together with Friends of the Inyo staff and other stakeholders, said, “After seeing Conglomerate Mesa from a bird’s eye view and learning about K2 Gold’s exploration activities, it breaks my heart that they would want to desecrate a beautiful area in our backyard for the almighty dollar. This is completely wrong. K2 can go back to where they are from and explore all they want there. Leave our homelands alone.”
Those who care to help make posters ahead of the rally are invited to a poster-making party Wednesday, August 30, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Friends of the Inyo’s Lone Pine Office, 142 E. Bush Street, across from the post office. Poster-making materials and food will be provided. Another poster-making party might also take place later in the week prior to the rally, but details have yet to be confirmed. Please visit Friends of the Inyo’s website, FriendsoftheInyo.org, or the Conglomerate Mesa Coalition’s website, ProtectConglomerateMesa.com, for updates and additional information, or simply write to Friends of the Inyo’s Desert Lands Organizer Jaime Lopez Wolters at Jaime@friendsoftheinyo.org.
About Friends of the Inyo
Founded in 1986, Friends of the Inyo is a nonprofit grassroots environmental organization whose mission is to protect and care for the land and water of the Eastern Sierra. FOI’s working area covers all of Inyo and Mono Counties, stretching from Lone Pine to Bridgeport, and including three national forests and two BLM field offices. FOI advocates for healthy environments across the diverse ecosystems that make up its working area. It also leads educational events and outings, including for local and visiting youth, and partners with federal agencies to engage in direct land stewardship activities. For more information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Conglomerate Mesa Coalition
The Conglomerate Mesa Coalition is a diverse group of organizations, Tribal nations, local businesses and other stakeholders who support the immediate protection of Conglomerate Mesa from extractive industries such as mining, to preserve the land’s cultural, historical, conservation, and recreation values.