Coronavirus will not stop GRIP’s commitment to community health & environmental protection

Dear Friends of GRIP,

The last few weeks have been difficult for everyone as we’ve all had to adapt to social distancing guidelines at work and at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. We hope that you are staying safe as you adjust to this new reality.

COVID-19 is not stopping GRIP’s commitment to promoting community health by protecting our environment and natural resources. We fully support Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stay-at-home order. Our staff have transitioned to working remotely as we continue to carry out our mission.

Here are some of the projects we’re working on to protect community health and the environment during the COVID-19 crisis:
Coronavirus Update: The COVID-19 outbreak has brought into focus for us how much we are all dependent upon one another and how vulnerable many are in our community. Recognizing that only 51 – 67% of households in southwest New Mexico have an internet account according to the U.S. Census, GRIP has teamed up with Gila-Mimbres Community Radio, Healthy Kids Healthy Communities, and National Center for Frontier Communities to produce a local radio show that provides the latest information on local strategies to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and protect our community during this public health crisis.

Broadcast Monday through Friday at noon and rebroadcast at 6pm and 8 am on KURU 89.1 FM Silver City and streaming at gmcr.orgCoronavirus Update features daily news updates, information, and interviews with local experts and professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in our area. Tune in or access past shows and a compilation of local resources at http://gmcr.org/category/coronavirus-update/

Mine Reclamation: GRIP and its technical consultant Jim Kuipers continue to participate remotely in discussions about updated permitting and financial assurance at Freeport’s Chino, Cobre and Tyrone mines. Updated permits and financial assurance should be finalized within weeks to a few months for the Chino and Cobre mines, ensuring that the most up-to-date requirements and financial assurance are in place for cleanup and reclamation when the mines close. GRIP is currently providing review and comment on the updated Tyrone reclamation plan.

Earth Day: The COVID-19 outbreak has forced cancellations and closures, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is just one of the many events that has had to adapt. Organizers across the planet will unite as part of the first “Digital Earth Day,” a global digital mobilization to address the most urgent threats to people and planet.

Here locally, Gila Earth Day will be participating in this virtual event on Wednesday, April 22. GRIP staff is coordinating the planning to develop a variety of local content for live streaming. For more information or to participate, contact GRIP program associate Doyne Wrealli at earthendoyne@gmail.com or 575.297.9734.

Stay tuned for updates at www.gilaresources.info or on Facebook @GilaEarthDay.  

Water Education: As a retired science educator, GRIP’s Silver City Watershed Keepers coordinator Leigh Jenkins knows the importance of keeping students learning during extended periods out of the classroom. Leigh has been developing fun hands-on activities and compiling internet resources related to water and the environment that parents can do with their kids at home during the school shutdown. 

Visit www.silvercitywatershedkeepers.org for downloadable materials and resources.

Protecting the Gila: Despite the coronavirus outbreak, federal agencies are moving forward with public review processes for the Gila diversion and Gila Forest Plan under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Bureau of Reclamation will release for 45-day public review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Gila River diversion project in mid-April. Internet-based webinars are planned for public participation rather than public meetings. GRIP and its partners are working to obtain an extension of time for review and comment given that public participation will be significantly hampered by shifting to on-line public participation methods due to the COVID-19 response. 

Similarly, the Gila National Forest is requesting comments on the Forest Plan draft EIS by April 16. Conservation organizations, including GRIP, have requested an extension.

While we may not see you out in the community, at an event or public meeting, please know that we are thinking about you and wish for your good health during this crisis.

Stay connected with us and our work to protect our environment and quality of life through our website at www.gilaresources.info or through social media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Stay safe and best wishes,

Allyson Siwik
Executive Director

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Gila Resources Information Project

305A North Cooper Street
Silver City, NM 88061

phone/fax 575.538.8078
email: grip at gilaresources.info

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