My Letter to the BOS RE: Blue Lead’s Appeal

The following is the text of my letter today to all five members of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors:

Dear Supervisors:

I urge you to reject the appeal by Blue Lead Mine LLC asking you to reverse the unanimous May 27th Planning Commission decision to deny them the vested right to mine.

By rejecting Blue Lead’s absurdly weak application, you will be supporting reasonable standards for evidence and you will be affirming the integrity of the Planning Commission’s process. By rejecting Blue Lead, you will be supporting legitimate claims of vested rights.

Strict and consistent evidentiary standards balance individual property rights with community needs, and preserve the community’s faith in the integrity of the process.

When you reject this appeal, Blue Lead will still be entitled to seek standard county mining permits.

In other recent decisions of planning commissions affirming the vested right to mine (such as the Devil’s Corral case in Lassen County) two conditions were present that are not present in the case of Blue Lead: (1) the documentation for an ongoing enterprise was concrete and incontrovertible and (2) the county’s own staff research supported the case for vesting.

In the case of Blue Lead, on the other hand, the proffered “evidence” would be laughable if it hadn’t already seriously consumed so much of the county’s time and manpower resources. Second, the Planning Commission and its staff, after months spent considering Blue Lead’s application for vested rights, both unanimously opposed it.

The process has taken months primarily because Blue Lead’s attorney skillfully represented a very simple matter as complex.

The simple truth is that there’s no plausible evidence to support the claim of vesting. Undated photos of old equipment, dated photos not of the subject site, and undocumented speculation about the activities of non-property-owner Lyle White do not constitute actual evidence by any stretch of the imagination.

Blue Lead offers you speculation, and asks you to accept it as evidence.

It’s also the simple truth that Lyle White was working full-time as a typesetter at The Union in October of 1954 (when permits were first required) and spending his spare time (according to his own report) tending to the Red Dog Cemetery, precisely at the time that Blue Lead’s attorney now asks you to believe that White was conducting an ongoing mining enterprise on the subject property. White simply lived too far away and was too busy to have plausibly done any such thing.

Everything you need to know is contained in the Planning Commission staff analysis at:

… and in historian David Comstock’s six-minute video testimony to the Planning Commission about Lyle White, here:

You may also see my series of articles (seventeen so far) on Blue Lead’s vesting claim at:

I urge you to reject Blue Lead’s appeal, and by that action affirm Nevada County’s high standards for vesting, and the integrity of its process. To do otherwise would be an insult to all miners who have worked hard and sweated to develop and preserve their legitimate property rights.

Blue Lead will still be entitled to seek standard mining permits.


Don Pelton
Editor, “Sierra Voices” (

If you’d like to write to the supervisors and express your opinion on this matter, you may use the following email addresses:,,,,

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