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 Daniel Barton To whom it does concern, I am opposed to mining development within the Smith River watershed by Red Flat Nickel Corporation as proposed in Application LL 1533. The last scenic and wild places in the western United States, an asset to the many - all of us - should not be squandered for the short-term benefit of the few - a handful of miners, shareholders, and corporate tycoons. The fisheries resources of the Smith River are nearly unparalleled, and are a relict of what once was the predominant wild state of our Pacific rivers. They should be preserved without compromise so that future generations will know what made our Northwest great. Further, the proposed mining development poses a final insult to the remaining first peoples of northwestern California, who lost a genocidal war and have been relegated to small pieces of their former now-degraded domain and cultural cradle. The Smith River Rancheria can only be harmed by the proposed development. I suggest that for the benefit of the many - all of us - this permit be denied without a second thought. Sincerely, Daniel C. Barton Eureka, California Former Citizen of Oregon
 Tamera Leighton Dear Director: As a 4th generation community member for Del Norte County, California, I am proud of and protective of the wild and scenic Smith River, which is currently being targeted for a large nickel mine that would degrade the area for recreation and pollute water for our community. Proposed test drilling for the nickel mine requires thousands of gallons of water. The Red Flat Nickel Corp (owned by St Peter Port Capital, United Kingdom) applied to Oregon Water Resources Department for a 5-year limited license to take public water from Taylor Creek for industrial mining purposes. I believe the limited license LL1533 should be denied because the water use would impair one of California’s last remaining salmon and steelhead strongholds. The Smith River is an economically vital recreation area and water extraction by the mine would be a detriment to the public interest. This is one of many proposals for nickel mining over the decades and generations. Just say no. Again. I urge you to protect the Smith River and deny the Red Flat Nickel mine’s application for a 5-year limited license to extract water from the headwaters of the Smith River.
 Erin Wheelis I am opposed to permitting exploratory drilling and future mining in the planned area of the North Fork of the Smith River. The potential to negatively impact a watershed that is vital as both a public water resource and recreational/tourist destination seems too high. Please do not approve this application.
 Alex BerryN/AAnother strip mine? Really? Have we not learned anything from the past? Maybe we should heed some advice from strip mine areas like in Montana that have poisoned the water supplies ruined rivers and caused taxpayers millions in the Superfund program. I am strongly opposed to anymore broken system deals. Clean rivers and streams and watersheds for that matter are disappearing rapidly. We should be the catalyst and say no to strip mines like this. We don't need nickel!
 Eileen Cooper The intent of this water application LL1533 is to facilitate strip mining within the watershed of the North Fork Smith River, and as such, the cumulative effects of this project in conjunction with related projects to this same purpose would be destructive to public interests of Del Norte County and the region. Such interests include a substantial investment of economic dependence on ecotourism of an area whose chambers of commerce have campaigned for "The Wild Rivers Coast." This economy is structured upon a vibrant sporting salmonid fishery, fieldtrips into special botanical areas throughout the serpentine North Fork Smith River environs and our National Recreation Area, backcountry OHV expeditions, kayaking through pristine rivers, and retaining the high quality of life that attracts residents and tourists, including high quality clean drinking water. These values are important to our health and welfare. This project is a direct threat to those values and interests. To take water during a drought from a small tributary that supports endangered salmonids would be unacceptable in itself, and harmful to the important spawning and rearing areas of the North Fork tributaries. The proper protocol under these circumstances requires a detailed comprehensive environmental analysis. I strongly object to this project. Thank you, Eileen Cooper
 Briannon FraleySmith River Rancheria, Tolowa Dee-ni' Federally Recognized Tribal GovernmentThe Smith River Rancheria (“Tribe”) is a federally recognized Tribe with ancestral lands in southern Oregon and northern California. Within our lands are the watersheds of the Applegate, Illinois, Rogue, Winchuck, Chetco, and Smith Rivers and tributaries of Baldface and Taylor Creeks. The Tribe is in opposition to the nickel-mining project within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, specifically within the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area, and is being referred to as the Cleopatra Check Drilling Program. Research conducted by the Tribe has found that exploratory drilling, which will divert water out of the Tribe’s watershed, will negatively impact threatened and endangered species such as the Coho, Snowy Plover, Bumbus Oxinatalis, and botanical areas resulting in an extraordinary circumstances classification under NEPA. The Tribe does not support the issuance of the applicants permit. This public comment does not constitute Government to Government Consultation, and the proper consultation with State and Federal Agencies must occur prior to any action being taken within the Tribe’s territory.
 Garey Slaughter I ask that you DENY the Red Flat Nickel Corp. application to divert water from the North Fork Smith River watershed. The Smith River provides drinking water for thousands of people in Del Norte County, Calif. Mining nickel in the watershed would threaten the purity of this river. Salmon and steelhead runs are some of the best remaining in the state, and must also be protected. Exploratory drilling in the area is but the first step, leading to large scale surface mining and resultant strip mining wastes and leachates entering Smith River tributaries. Please do not allow this process to start......DENY the Red Flat Nickel Corp application.
 Eileen Evermorenot applicableI can recite chapter and verse ALL the reasons why this application should not be approved, but I'm sure you've read them repeatedly already. So I will focus on the most important issues for me, personally. I live on the Smith River in Gasquet, and all our water comes from the North Fork. There is no way that I am willing to risk the contamination of my water supply and all the myriad losses associated therein, so that some foreign corporation can reap profits or "jack-up" their stock values by ravaging our natural resources. How does the Oregon Water Resources Department acquire the right to appropriate any water in the Smith River watershed which is not only governed by the California Water Resources Control Board but is also protected by the Federal Government as a wild and scenic river? To approve this project is to invite the viper into the Garden of Eden.
 David Moser The proposed surface water use for LL 1533 will impair and be detrimental to the public interest. The presumption (OAR 690-310-0110(1)) that the proposed use will not impair or be detrimental to the public interest cannot be established, and at a minimum even if established is overcome by facts showing the use to be detrimental to the public interest. Accordingly, the Department is required to deny the application (OAR 690-310-0120(5). LL 1533 was filed by Red Flat Nickel Corporation, which plans to drill 59 exploratory holes to collect geologic samples, in support of its plan to strip mine 4,000 acres of public lands and use chemical leaching processes to extract metals from the mined ore. LL 1533 seeks to divert surface water from an unnamed tributary of Taylor Creek for such drilling. Taylor Creek is tributary to Baldface Creek, which is tributary to the North Fork Smith River, a Federal and California Wild and Scenic River. Pursuant to OAR 690-310-0110(1), the Department shall presume that such a proposed surface water use will not impair or be detrimental to the public interest if the use is allowable, water is available, the use would not injure other water rights, and the use complies with Commission rules. Here, the Department must conclude that this presumption is not established, because water is NOT available. The California State Water Resources Control Board, by Order WR 98-08, has determined that the Smith River system is fully appropriated year around. Even if the Department were to conclude that the presumption is established, the presumption is overcome by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed use will impair or be detrimental to the public interest. OAR 690-310-0110(2)(b). The Department's public interest evaluation must consider the specific factors established by the Oregon Legislature in ORS 537.170(8). The public interest factors relevant to this application, and the associated pertinent facts with respect to LL 1533, include the following: 1. "Conserving the highest use of the water for all purposes." As a designated national Wild and Scenic River (in both Oregon and California), the highest uses of the North Fork Smith River and its tributaries including the tributary at issue in LL 1533, is for wild, scenic, recreational, fishery and ecological purposes. The North Fork Smith River and Baldface Creek, both in Oregon, are habitat for threatened Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, Steelhead, and Coastal cutthroat trout. 2. "The maximum economic development of the waters involved." The Smith River and its entire tributary system is a world class salmon and trout stream, and recreational asset, and thus a major economic asset for southern Oregon and northern California. LL 1533 is the first step towards the development of this and other strip mines in the watershed, which will destroy these existing economic assets through strip mining, sedimentation, and both intentional and accidental discharges of leached metals and processing chemicals. 3. "The control of the waters of this state for all beneficial purposes..." Granting LL 1533 is the first step in a process that will lead to a complete loss of control of the affected waters for all beneficial purposes. If the license is granted, and the drilling is performed, and the 4,000 acre stripmine is developed, the state will lose all control of these waters. 4. "The amount of waters available for appropriation for beneficial use." As explained above, no water is available for appropriation in the Smith River system, including the tributary at issue in LL 1533. 5. "The prevention of wasteful, uneconomic, impracticable or unreasonable use of the waters involved." Given its Wild and Scenic River designations, its extraordinary value as a high quality anadromous fishery, its recreational and economic values in its current relatively pristine condition, and the impracticabilty of site inspection or monitoring by the Department given the site's extrarordinarily remote location, the proposed use is wasteful, uneconomic, impracticable and unreasonable. For these reasons, the presumption is overcome. The proposed use will impair and be detrimental to the public interest. Accordingly, the Department is legally required to deny the application. OAR 690-310-0120(5).
 Kelsey Thompson Nickle mining is not the public's best interest! The Smith River is a pure river that hosts endangered fish and delicate and unique ecosystems that would be destroyed from nickel mining pollution. Many people also get their drinking water and water their crops from the Smith. Not to mention that the EPA states that nickle mining is the most damaging and polluting type of mining to happen. Please don't let this foreign company's greed affect our local ecosystem and community!