When none of the county’s District 4 Supervisor candidates took home 50 percent of the vote in June, it triggered a run-off election for November between the top two vote getters, Tim Hansen and Tim Fesko.
So it is that the Tims are once again gearing up to win the seat. This time, though, there are no second chances.
It only seemed appropriate to kick off election coverage here at the Mammoth Times with the two Tims’ take on one of the more controversial issues to hit North County – whether or not the Bodie Hills Wilderness Study Area (WSA) near Bodie State Park be removed from protection as potential wilderness. A very recent bill proposed by Rep. Buck McKeon, and a potential gold mining operation in the Bodie Hills, brought the issue to the forefront this week.
“In my opinion, releasing the WSA and mining are separate issues;. The release of the WSA is not dependent on mining and thus each should be discussed and decided upon on their own merits. My studies and research so far have found a study done several years ago by the BLM, as required by law. The study was undertaken to determine as to whether the area should be designated as Wilderness or released as non-Wilderness, their findings was for non-Wilderness.
“Through the inactiveness of Congress, this WSA (and others) have sat in limbo for many years and have thus tied up thousands of acres from being used by the public and by private property owners within the WSA. Releasing this WSA as non-wilderness (as per the BLM findings) does NOT mean that this land will automatically be developed, especially without public input and scrutiny.
Having first-hand knowledge regarding property development in this county and state, I know the stringent guidelines, rules and laws that have to be traversed to do just about anything. There are numerous safeguards in place, including public meetings, hearings and Environmental Impact Study reports to ensure the safety of the land and make certain that responsible development takes place.
Furthermore, the use of these public lands should be decided on by the people of Mono County, more specifically District 4, as its use directly effects this district, historically, recreationally and economically.
Timothy “Tim” Hansen
“It was obvious at (Tuesday’s) meeting that a lot of well-intentioned people know nothing about issues they feel free to condemn. As I said (Tuesday), I worked for the company Cougar Gold) from start to finish and I know exactly what was done and the extremely strict guidelines we worked under. I could take you to every drill site (about 16 or 18) and defy you to see any evidence of any work.
“However as I said, the issue is not about a mining company or any proposed project, it’s about releasing an area in a Wilderness Study Area that does not meet the criteria for wilderness. This area is beautiful, but so is everywhere else in the whole valley.
“As far as the bill being rushed and the timing of it, I cannot comment. I chose to speak my mind at the risk of losing popularity and support from a certain group, but everything I said was true! I fully support true wilderness but don’t support WSAs being used to lock up land for a select few. This area is truly a multi-use recreational area with grazing, many roads, and in a historic mining district. I feel there are a multitude of safeguards in place to allow another exploratory project if proposed.
“In addition, I worked for the mining company in Bridgeport last summer on their exploratory project, from start to finish, and I witnessed exactly what occurred. The motels were filled, all the company’s diesel and gas was brought locally, workers shopped in both markets and patronized the restaurants and stores in Bridgeport, making this a beneficial impact to the community.”