Letter of opposition to proposed Parley’s Canyon mine to Government Officials

UPHE acted quickly to oppose a large proposed mining operation in Parley’s Canyon. We site numerous concerns regarding effects to air quality, human health, quality of life, and environmental degradation in our letter to state and local officials below.

Proposed area for he mine

Dear DOGM staff, Salt Lake County officials, and Gov. Cox:

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) have been besieged by Salt Lake County residents who oppose the proposed “Tree Leaf Silver Mine,” and they are alarmed at even a small possibility this mine could happen in Parley’s Canyon. A brief investigation of the applicant shows he has no mining experience or track record, and the proposed start date for operation is Dec. 20, 2021.

A petition of opposition has already gathered nearly 4,000 signatures in just a few days, and many more are being added every hour based merely on last week’s SL Tribune story. After examining the documents filed with your agency, we are also firmly opposed to this proposal.

From an aesthetic perspective, allowing an enormous, new scar on Parley’s Canyon mountainous landscape within a few miles of the eastern gateway to Salt Lake City is reason enough to have this proposal quickly dismissed. Beyond aesthetics, however, in a valley with unhealthy, chronic air pollution  from multiple sources, water resources steadily diminishing, and with those trends destined to continue and likely accelerate, it is alarming indeed that projects like this are still being proposed. More specifically, the additional dust and diesel pollution generated by the mine will only add to the health and quality of life consequences  from existing sources of environmental degradation in the valley. And it seems nearly certain that water quantity and quality in the area  (Parley’s creek, MIllcreek, and groundwater) will be diminished and degraded. 

Furthermore, what appears to be simultaneous applications from Tree Leaf for a small mine (20 acres) and a large mine (634 acres) is unusual, if not inexplicable and suspicious as a means of getting eventual approval for the large mine via a “foot in the door” with approval for the small mine first. Were it not for the investigation of a Salt Lake Tribune reporter, the public would likely not have been aware of this proposal in the eastern “backyard” of Salt Lake Valley residents. Certainly as citizens they deserve to be informed of this proposal and their voices and concerns about it heard and considered.

State and local government should reflect the will of the people. It is clear this proposed mine would be contrary to the will of the overwhelming majority of the people affected. Beyond registering our firm opposition to this proposal, can you tell us what is the process and timeline by which this proposal will be evaluated, and about the public’s opportunity to become engaged in that process?

UPHE Board of Directors

Brian Moench, M.D.
Kirtly Parker Jones, M.D.
Scott Pynes
Janice Evans
John MacFarlane, M.D.
Richard Kanner, M.D.
Sara E. H. Johnson, M.D.
Courtney Henley, M.D.
E. Thomas Nelson, M.D.
Jonny Vasic, Executive Director