Nevada a bad neighbor state: Closing Jerritt Canyon gold mine said to be part of bigger battle

Nevada wants to keep regulation out of federal hands for selfish reasons

According to the Las Vegas Sun the battle over the huge mercury plume from the recently-closed (again) Jerritt Canyon mine is really over Nevada keeping control of regulating its gold mining industry.

Closing mine part of bigger battle. State wants to keep feds from regulating industry. Las Vegas Sun. By Lisa Mascaro

Well, of course. Nevada has a long history of exporting environmental harm to its neighbors. It didn’t begin with letting mercury poison blow into Idaho and Utah. They have plans underway to steal water from under Utah’s west desert and maybe even Idaho.

For years Nevada smelters sent toxic heavy metals and more traditional pollution into Idaho and Utah.In the late 1980s, there was a multi-billion dollar plan for a huge coal fired power plant in the extreme NE corner of Nevada where essentially all the pollution would blow out of the state.

The federal government itself used the Nevada desert as the site of open air atomic bomb testing whose radioactive fallout caused many cancer cases in Utah, Idaho, California, Montana, and places every further away.

Earlier. August 22, 2008. Mercury pollution investigation shuts down Nevada gold mine near Idaho border
March 16, 2008. Six Nevada gold mines are worse mercury polluters than Jerritt Canyon?
March 15, 2008. Nevada closes Jerritt Canyon Mine for mercury releases.

Interesting weekend and bad reporting.

Domestic sheep DO transmit deadly disease to bighorn sheep.

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

This weekend has turned out to be an interesting one in the world of the domestic sheep/bighorn sheep controversy. Rocky Barker reported on his blog that he had the infamous “study” that Marie Bulgin “missed” but it’s not the one at issue in the big story published on Friday. He links to a Colorado study in today’s story where he glosses over the conflict of interest and says:

“And just this weekend, it came out that Bulgin’s own center had conducted tests that indicated the disease could be transmitted from domestic to wild sheep – though she said the study happened before she took the job in 2003 and she didn’t know about it until this year.”

This also misrepresented what the Caine Vet Lab study, which he apparently does not have, actually demonstrates, it apparently shows that a domestic sheep transmitted disease to bighorns in the wild not just that it’s possible.

Marie Bulgin, according to, is the president of the Idaho Woolgrowers Association. At the same time she is the Caine Veterinary Teaching Center Teaching Program Coordinator and has been employed there since 1977 making her claim that “the [1994] study happened before she took the job in 2003 and she didn’t know about it until this year” rather dubious. I’m not saying that she knew about the studies but it seems that someone who knew about the Caine Vet study should have told her.

Marie Bulgin not only claimed there was no evidence for transmission in the wild to the Idaho Legislature, she said it in Federal Court as well. Rocky has been repeating her claims in every story he has written about the issue and has never done adequate investigation into them, he has also never done any investigation into the “1997 deal” which is just as bogus.

Can Idaho manage wild and domestic sheep together?
The travels of one sick wild bighorn show how hard it will be to enforce a new state law to protect sheep herders.

Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman