HISTORY AND MISSION
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.
In addition to its Responsible Mining Program, GRIP advocates for sustainable management of our water resources, healthy rivers, protection of the Gila region from military training, community resilience and action on climate change.
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.
GRIP COMMITMENT TO JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
As an organization dedicated to promoting community health through protection of our environment and natural resources, GRIP is committed to achieving our mission in a just, equitable, fair and transparent manner. We strive to make our commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion evident in our board, staff, programs and coalition work. We pledge to continue to increase access to all underserved communities in our organization and work. We commit to continuous improvement in the implementation of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in our organization and work in order to protect our environment, address the climate crisis, and create healthy communities for everyone.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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 imminent destruction due to expansion of the Chino Mine.
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.
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.
A Westerner by heritage, Jody was raised in Tucson, and has lived in Colorado, Georgia, and now New Mexico. She has several masters, the most recent being a city and regional degree with an emphasis on environmental policy. As a sustainability writer and teacher, she’s written articles, research projects and reports, produced best practice policy scans, crafted posters and conference presentations, acted as a technical editor for a nonprofit press, created and edited newsletters, and taught college classes in the Sustainability Minor at the University of Colorado at Denver. She’s also served as a member of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, and is currently on the Trails and Open Space Advisory Committee for Silver City, as well as the Sustainable Development Committee for the Western New Mexico University, and the Borderland Writers Cooperative. Her ten thousand feet mission revolves around the realization of cities as systemic regenerative frameworks that create, support, and advance wellbeing of individuals, communities, and the Earth. In her spare time she loves learning about cosmology, quantum physics, systems theory and the paranormal, and hiking wilderness with her dogs and her partner of thirty-five years.