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BLM hosting public meeting on proposal for United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat



The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District-Sierra Front Field Office is hosting an open house public meeting on September 28 to discuss a final environmental assessment (EA) that analyzes plans to abate safety hazards at the United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat in Storey County, Nevada.  Members of the public have assisted BLM in developing alternatives in the EA to reduce serious safety hazards while documenting and mitigating possible impacts to cultural and historical resources.

A recent audit by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General identified the abandoned property as a continuing high-risk public safety hazard responsible for a death and numerous injuries and as a liability to the U.S. Government.

The BLM will host a public open house meeting regarding the EA on Tuesday, September 28, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the BLM-Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, Nevada.
The final EA will be posted on the project webpage beginning September 22.  The webpage is at:  http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field/blm_information/nepa/comstock_merger_mill.html.  Comments on the final EA will be accepted through October 21 and should be addressed to Dan Jacquet, BLM-Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV  89701, or e-mailed to [email protected].

The United Comstock Merger Mill was built in 1922 to process local gold and silver ore utilizing cyanide vat leaching in what was then described as the largest concrete mill in the United States, which makes it historically significant.  Since abandonment in 1924, this seven-acre mill site has been used as a place to hold parties, post graffiti, and conduct paintball wars despite physical safety hazards from falling concrete, underground mill sumps filled with water, and holes in the concrete flooring.

The BLM published a Federal Register Notice in 1997 to close the historic mill buildings to public entry in response to a fatality at the site.  Regardless of the closure and repeated efforts by the BLM to fence, gate and post the site with warning signs, the property still receives visitors in trespass.  According to the Storey County Sheriff’s Department, emergency vehicles respond to at least six serious injuries on the property every year, mostly from visitors climbing on and falling from the mill buildings which are as much as 80 feet in height.

Call 775-885-6000 for more information.

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