We need your help...



Please submit comment letters through September 14th, 2020 to help ensure that community concerns are addressed and that sensitive species, habitats, water, and air are protected during the permitting of this lithium mine!


(Feel free to use parts or all of our sample letter below to submit your comments on Thacker Pass!)

September ___, 2020

Ken Loda

Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca District

5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd. Winnemucca, Nevada 89445

Re: Comments of Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Thacker Pass Lithium Mine


Dear Mr. Loda,

I would like to highlight my concerns regarding the proposed Thacker Pass lithium mine and ask that they be taken into account in the NEPA process.

First off, I am concerned about the potential effects the proposed Thacker Pass Lithium Mine will have on wildlife, particularly that of sage grouse, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. I would like to see that all potential harm from the proposed action and alternatives be thoroughly analyzed and that baseline studies be entirely complete to ensure the protection of all of these species. As of now, the Bureau of Land Management has not done adequate baseline analysis to fully understand the effect of the mine on wildlife, water, air, and land resources. In addition, the analysis of impacts is not of sufficient enough detail for me to understand how the Bureau of Land Management drew its conclusions and whether or not there are adequate mitigation measures.

I would specifically like to reference the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout who are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and rely on streams that could potentially be affected by the project’s water use. It is critical that there be complete data and assurance that their streams will not be affected and the species will not be harmed.

Furthermore, for all wildlife in the area, most adequate mitigations should be sought and the protection of habitat prioritized for mitigation–especially the Montana Mountains, which are biologically sensitive (and hold great intrinsic value by many in the community as well). The protection of the Montana Mountains as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern should be thoroughly considered to protect wildlife and cultural resources.

Second, the public engagement process around Thacker Pass must more adequately align with NEPA than it has so far, and more time must be allotted to ensure the public is able to properly understand the proposed actions and have their concerns fully taken into account. A more thorough and transparent public engagement process is needed, particularly considering the local community’s many articulated concerns and mistrust, as well as the fact that a great deal of the public process has occurred under extenuating circumstances of the pandemic. In addition, community members are currently still waiting for requested documents. The comment period must be extended due to the fact that these community members have still not been given access to the information they need in order to make meaningful comments at the draft EIS stage.

In regard to the public process, I would like to point out the problematic nature of streamlining a project in the midst of a pandemic that does not have clear community consent or an adequate means of engaging the public virtually to obtain it. Adequate public engagement should be prioritized and the community adequately met, consistent with the spirit of NEPA, in the unique challenges presented by the pandemic. Increased measures should be taken currently to address the challenges presented by the pandemic to ensure that the community is able to understand and engage with the project still. However, there were intentionally less measures taken to ensure this during the Thacker Pass DEIS virtual meeting. For example, there were no resource specialists at the August 9th, 2020, meeting. It was also stated during this virtual meeting that “in this format, we’re hoping not to get into that,” and that “we can’t get into the specifics today in this [virtual] format.” The virtual format should not be used as a justification for eliminating typical components of the public engagement project, and instead, extra means of engaging the public should be incorporated into the virtual process to compensate for the inability to meet in person. To sufficiently add these components and meet the spirit of NEPA, more time should be devoted to the permitting process, not less. Lithium Nevada’s plan for an expedited permitting for Thacker Pass needs to be critically evaluated in light of this, and the comment deadline for the Draft EIS needs to be extended at least through the end of September.

Thank you so much for your time taking my comments into account.                                                 


***your name:______________


How to Submit Comment Letter:

  • on-line via the ePlanning website (see the Participate Now tab);
  • by email at blm_nv_wdo_thacker_pass@blm.gov with “Thacker Pass EIS (Loda)” in the subject line;
  • or by mail to Mr. Ken Loda, Project Lead, 5100 East Winnemucca Blvd, Winnemucca, NV 89445


3/21/18 Last week, the US House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources voted a dangerous bill, H.R.520, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production, out of committee.

Sponsored by Nevada Representative Mark Amodei, the bill makes public participation optional as mining proposals make their way through agencies. This is a direct attack on the bedrock environment law NEPA and on our participation as citizens in deciding what happens on our public land!

Please contact House members and ask them to vote “no” on HR520.

Talking Points:

➢ The public may be left out of critical decisions regarding planning on our public lands . You can quote the bill: any state or federal agency may determine “whether public participation will occur during the decision-making process…”

➢ The list of strategic minerals in the bills is too inclusive; practically all minerals would be considered “strategic and critical” and projects involving their extraction could be fast-tracked;

➢ It’s false for the bills’ adherents to contend that mining projects spend 7-10 years waiting for final approval; the GAO cited an average 2-year process.

If you live in Assemblyman Amodei’s 2nd Congressional District (most of Lyon County, all of Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Pershing, Storey and Washoe counties and Carson City) email him here: https://amodei.house.gov/email-me/

If you live in another district or state find your representative here:

BACKGROUND One of GBRW’s most important jobs is to provide detailed technical comments about mining projects. Many project plans are technical in nature and it’s challenging for the public to digest the information Considerable time and a technical background is typically needed for helpful comments. The process public input is regulated primarily by the bedrock environmental law, The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). HR 520 and its companion Senate Bill S145 may offer convincing arguments that agencies must be able to quickly ok projects involving minerals of a strategic nature. But the bills will do far more harm than good by undermining public participation provisions of NEPA.

Donate to Great Basin Resource Watch