In 1998, Phelps Dodge needed to get permits for its three Grant County copper mines under the new state Mining Act. At that time, public involvement in community environmental issues was challenging, often unwelcome, and sometimes threatening.
Some of us were concerned that without a strong community voice, the powerful Phelps Dodge would be able to walk away from its responsibility to clean up its Chino, Cobre and Tyrone mines, leaving our community with contaminated water, a degraded environment and no financial resources to clean up the mess.
A small group of citizens – Sally Smith, Harry Browne, CarolBeth Elliott and Michael Berman – stepped up to organize our community as a counter to Phelps Dodge in the permitting process. GRIP was ultimately successful in pushing the state to require $500 million in protective reclamation at the Chino, Cobre and Tyrone mines than the $100 million plan proposed by Phelps Dodge.
Recognizing that human and environmental systems are inseparable and interdependent, GRIP pursues two goals: 1. To protect and nurture human communities by safeguarding the natural resources that sustain us all; 2. To safeguard natural resources by facilitating informed public participation in resource use decisions.
We work in communities, in the courts, and in the state legislature to protect community health, our environment and natural resources.
Co-founder and board president, Sally has devoted her adult life to building community with those whom she lives with and protecting watersheds she lives within.
Now retired, Sally is appreciating restoring her gardens and rock terraces after years of parenting and activism.
Harry Browne – Co-founder and first executive director of GRIP, Harry is the Business Manager and one of the founders of Aldo Leopold Charter School. Harry serves as GRIP’s treasurer and secretary.
Landscape photographer Michael Berman was born in New York City, studied biology at Colorado College where he began his love and wanderings through the desert southwest. A long-time resident of Grant County, Michael is a co-founder and board member of GRIP.
David retired from the National Park Service and is a life-long supporter of conservation and progressive causes. Because every ecosystem needs a watch dog, David joined the GRIP board to ensure that southwest New Mexico’s environment is protected.
I’m retired from Chino Mine, and I joined GRIP to help the organization in their quest to keep and preserve the integrity of our environment and our essential ground water. Grant County is a special place to live and our mining communities’ residents deserve clean water and environment. Many of these residents have for many years worked hard in helping the mining companies realize vast profits. In the late 1990s, I helped organize the Save the Kneeling Nun campaign to protect this sacred site from eminent destruction due to expansion of the Chino Mine.
My focus is to protect the planet, wage peace, seek joy. Working with GRIP is a means to these ends.
Since 2003, Allyson has served as the executive director of the Gila Resources Information Project. She is also the director of the Gila Conservation Coalition that works to protect the free flow of the Gila River. Allyson graduated with a BA in biology from Colby College and a Master of Environmental Management in Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University School of the Environment. She has nearly 30 years of experience in environmental protection, conservation, and advocacy, including 12 years with the US Environmental Protection Agency in North Carolina and El Paso, TX. She has worked extensively with local communities in the borderlands to resolve environmental problems, including binational air quality management, mining environmental impacts, water quality and water supply concerns, and community-wide initiatives on climate change and sustainability. She has served on several local, state and federal boards including, the Good Neighbor Environmental Board that advises the President and Congress on U.S.-Mexico Border environmental and infrastructure issues.
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Leigh has spent most of her career as a science educator and advocate for the environment. For eighteen years, Leigh taught Biology and Environmental Science in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia emphasizing watershed education on tributaries in the greater Chesapeake Bay Watershed. For the past two years, she has studied sustainable, green schools in West Virginia. Leigh recently chose Silver City as her new home where she enjoys hiking with her grown children, Paul and Rebecca, and her dog Chara.
email: silvercitywatershedkeepers at gmail.com;
Doyne organizes the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and Earth Day celebrations and assists with a wide range of technical projects. She brings a varied background in soil and groundwater contamination, human services, and the performing arts. She is a native of the Southwest and has lived in Silver City for over 20 years. She works for GRIP/GCC because she believes everyone deserves a clean environment.