Suzanne Smith, former Senior Planner with the Nevada County Planning Department, here testifies in opposition to Blue Lead Mine’s application for “vested right to mine” before the April 22nd meeting of the Planning Commission. She agrees with and quotes the following passages from the letter sent to the Commission by the law firm, Shute Mihaly & Weinberger ((The letter was written by Ellison Folk. “Ms. Folk is a member of the Bars of the State of California, the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California. ” From Shute Mihaly & Weinberger profile of Ellison Folk. ))
County staff is correct that Blue Lead has not submitted any objective evidence that mining activity was actively being pursued in 1954. For example, photos of sluicing operations in Missouri Creek do not demonstrate that mining activity was occurring at the Blue Lead site. It is the applicant’s burden to make this case; it is not the County’s burden to refute it.
… To make this assessment, at a minimum, the County should require the applicant to submit real proof of active mining at the project site in 1954, proof of the geographic area where the mining was located and to which the owner at the time had manifested an objective intent to mine, proof regarding levels of mining at that time, and proof that mining operations (and not just an abstract interest in mining) had continued through to the present.
Without such evidence and appropriate environmental review, the County’s vested rights determination will lack any foundation in law or fact, and should not be issued.