|Thacker Pass Protection Camp photo by Western Shoshone Carl Bad Bear Sampson|
|Photo by Illhee Spirit Runners|
Vancouver activists occupy Lithium Americas head office today
By Protect Thacker Pass
Monday, March 22, 2012
VANCOUVER, BC — Activists are occupying the front steps of Lithium Americas’ head office at 900 West Hastings on Monday, March 22nd from 8:00 am in solidarity with American counterparts aiming to stop an open-pit mine in intact sagebrush habitat in Nevada.
“We want to make the public aware that lithium mining is extremely harmful to nature and even though lithium is an element destined for smartphones and electric cars, its extraction is the opposite of sustainable,” explains Nicola Rodriguez of Surrey.
The Thacker Pass mine proposal, located roughly 130 miles northeast of Reno, is one of a handful of large mining and energy projects fast-tracked by the outgoing Trump administration in what a December article in the New York Times called an “intense push” to “find ways to increase domestic energy and mining production.”
The Vancouver activists are bringing attention to a permanent protest encampment at the proposed $1.3 billion Lithium Americas mine site in Nevada, which is set up with tents, a wood stove and protest signs. “Canadians should know about this company, what they’re doing to a pristine ecosystem, and how their neighbors are resisting it,” adds Rodriguez.
Resistance to the project from Indigenous members of the Fort McDermitt Tribe, as well as local ranchers and residents is mounting. Supporters are invited to join the encampment.
Lawyer Will Falk says they mean to stay for as long as it takes to protect this old-growth sagebrush mountainside. “People might be confused about why we want to interfere with the production of electric car batteries,” says Falk. “But it’s wrong to destroy a mountain for any reason – whether the reason is fossil fuels or lithium.”
The Lithium Americas mine will harm Greater sage grouse, Lahontan cutthroat trout, burrowing owls, Golden eagles, native pollinators and Pronghorn antelope, whose migration routes would be severed by the mine. Impacts on human communities include increases in heavy truck traffic, noise and light pollution, air quality issues, and reductions in the water table. Despite Lithium Americas claims that this will be a “carbon neutral” mine, the project will burn some 26,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day.
Activists are demanding:
1. The establishment of a protected area at Thacker Pass preserved for the enjoyment of future generations, for wildlife and for water quality;
2. An immediate abandonment of the Thacker Pass lithium mine project by Lithium Americas corporation; and
3. A sincere apology from Lithium Americas Corporation for claiming that Thacker Pass is a “green” project.
For interviews, more information, to support the campaign, or to join the occupation, visit www.ProtectThackerPass.org. Feel free to reproduce this press release in your publication.