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Friends of the Inyo Participates in an International Educational Effort on Earth Law 

For six weeks this summer, my colleague, Allison Weber, Friends of the Inyo’s Policy Associate, Water and Forest Campaign Manager, and I joined attorneys and environmental advocates from more than three dozen countries around the world—representing every continent except Australia and Antarctica—for an online course titled “Intro to Earth Law.” While the Durango, Colorado-based Earth Law Center offers this course for free, there is an application process, and Allison and I were honored to be selected and to be able to represent Friends of the Inyo and the Eastern Sierra in this educational endeavor.

Besides the time investment (there was a lot of weekly reading and some written assignments to plow through), we were only required to purchase the textbook Earth Law: Emerging Ecocentric Law—A Guide for Practitioners, a comprehensive work whose authors were our teachers. Whether you have much experience in the legal field or not, if you are concerned about the state of the climate crisis and are interested in knowing about what has been done in recent decades in courtrooms and by legislative bodies around the world to try to heal our planet before it is too late, it is an eye-opening read, all 700-plus pages of it—and the textbook puts the Eastern Sierra on the map, as it includes a section on the use of the public trust doctrine to convince the California Supreme Court in 1983 that the health of Mono Lake had to be safeguarded against excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. It calls the 40-year-old ruling, “a leading state precedent.”

Earth Law, still an emerging field, takes Environmental Law to the next level by focusing on the rights of nature for nature’s sake (an ecocentric approach) as opposed to protecting nature for the enjoyment and benefit of humans (the traditional anthropocentric approach of most environmental laws).

In the coming months, Allison and I plan to share with other FOI staff members some of the important lessons we have learned regarding indigenous legalities, worldviews and sound ecological practices; the rights of nature and future generations; other nations’ bestowing legal personhood and enabling court representation for endangered animal species, river systems (from glacier to tributaries to deltas), and other living or life-giving components of nature; ecocide (the destruction of the natural environment by deliberate or negligent human action); and other weighty concepts that MUST be considered at this trying moment in Earth's history.

I can tell you this: Thanks to Allison’s and my participation in this Earth Law course, Friends of the Inyo has increased its arsenal of resources to use in the good fight for the protection of the land and water of the Eastern Sierra.

Possibly our proudest moment came in the way of an email from Tony Zelle, who led the class and is the main author of the Earth Law textbook: “Allison and Louis, the questions and comments you submit for each class are so thoughtful, they led me to google you and learn that you work together. I am sure there are opportunities for ELC and Friends of the Inyo to collaborate.”

In this issue of The Juniper, you will see a common theme: Collaboration! With the Earth Law Center; with the No Hot Creek Mine Campaign, as evident in the first story that follows; with the Tri-County Fair, AltaOne Federal Credit Union, and others, to increase access to nature for underrepresented communities; with the June Lake Regional Planning Advisory Committee (RPAC) to ensure good science is used in the analysis of Rush Creek Hydroelectric relicensing; and more! All that, plus our summer offering of FREE interpretive hikes and volunteering opportunities to give back to our most beautiful and precious corner of the world.


Happy reading—and if you like what you read, happy sharing! 


Louis (Lou) Medina
Communications and Philanthropy Director

Remember: When scrolling through our newsletter, you might come across a message at the bottom that says [Message clipped] and/or the hyperlink "View Entire Message." Be sure to click on the link to keep reading, as more news will be displayed. This is done to prevent bandwidth issues in e-mail delivery. Thank you.  

Deepening Partnerships

Emily Markstein, co-founder of the No Hot Creek Mine effort (NoHotCreekMine.com), has been hired by Friends of the Inyo as our Campaign Manager, No Hot Creek Mine.

"We are thrilled to add Emily to our team, to strengthen our work to protect the lands and waters of Inyo and Mono Counties,” said FOI Executive Director Wendy Schneider. “She brings passion for our lands, campaign expertise, and commitment to get the job done."

Emily will play a key role in organizing volunteers to monitor KORE Mining’s operations at Hot Creek, which could start as early as September 1 of this year, to make sure the company stays within the bounds of its approved projects. She also appeared in a recent episode of the Dirtbag Diaries Podcast, and is working on developing a number of outreach and educational activities for the coming months. We list some of the activities below and hope you can join Emily and others from Friends of the Inyo. 

No Hot Creek Mine Campaign Events

  • Saturday, August 5 - No Hot Creek Mine Protest from 2 to 5 pm, on the corner of Main Street and Minaret Road in Mammoth Lakes. Volunteers needed! Use this link to choose between the 2 to 3:30 or the 3:30 - 5 shift. Thank you!
  • Saturday, August 12 & 19, from 8 to 11 am - Stop by our information table at Stellar Brew, 3280 Main Street, in Mammoth Lakes. 
  • Saturday, August 26, from 4 to 7 pm - "Summer's End Folk Fest" at Pokonobe Marina, 3863 Lake Mary Road, on the shore of Lake Mary in Mammoth Lakes.  A fun evening of music featuring Salt River Straights, Kevin Seymore, John Demaria, Ben W., and Alex Garcia. Suggested $10 donation will help raise funds for the No Hot Creek Mine Campaign.   

Here Are Our FREE Interpretive Hikes, Other Events and Volunteering Opportunities in August: 

Interpretive hikes and other events are led by our Stewardship Team of eager and knowledgeable Trail Ambassadors: Returning Lead TA Jean Redle, plus first-timers Brian Bosak, Logan Hamilton, Kelly Kish and Colt Russell. The team receives direction and encouragement from FOI Stewardship Director Lindsay ButcherLearn more about each of them on the Staff and Board page of our website.

Find your passion: There are more than a dozen educational or volunteer events to choose from! Click on the link for the hike or event that interests you, and you will be taken to the event page on our calendar where you will find more specific meeting time, parking, what-to-bring, and other details, and where you will also need to RSVP by filling out a waiver form for safety reasons. 

Interpretive Hikes and Educational Events

Volunteering Opportunities

Check out these multi-day (backcountry) and half-day (front country) opportunities in July and August!

Please be sure to read the descriptions of our Volunteering Opportunities, especially the multi-day backcountry events which are physically demanding and where backpacking experience is preferred, and, just like for the educational hikes, fill out the sign-up form and waiver, which is required for safety reasons.

To see events scheduled beyond August, please visit the Events page of our website, FriendsoftheInyo.org/Events. More events will be added to our Events Calendar as summer progresses, so be sure to check it out often. 

See you on the trails!

More Collaboration

Nature, Connectivity and Credit Redux!

We will be at the Tri-County Fair in Bishop on Aug. 31 and Sept 3, with partners AltaOne Federal Credit Union and others, to educate the community about public lands protection and access, as well as to help people who are unbanked or lack credit to apply for a credit or debit card account with AltaOne. This is a continuation of the community service we began during Latino Conservation Week in July, in response to many National Parks and other venues making a transition to cashless collection of entry fees and other payments from the public. We want everyone to have access to our beautiful national parks and, thanks to the Tri-County Fair graciously agreeing to host us, we will be able to do much outreach regarding Nature, Connectivity and Credit to fair-going members of underrepresented communities so that credit can open outdoor recreation opportunities for them.

See you at the Fair! 

June Lake RPAC and
Rush Creek Hydroelectric Project Noise

Spillway from Agnew Lake at Rush Creek - Photo by Allison Weber.

Friends of Inyo and the June Lake Regional Planning Advisory Committee (RPAC) are urging Southern California Edison (SCE) to use good science for Rush Creek Hydroelectric relicensing noise analysis during our epic summer runoff. 

FOI has been monitoring SCE's relicensing application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to permit the continued operation of the Rush Creek Hydroelectric project. The Rush Creek Hydroelectric power plant and dams at Agnew Lake, Gem Lake, and Waugh Lake are in the June Lake area and generate 13 megawatts of power. The relicensing requires technical studies as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review to identify potential impacts including with regard to biological, tribal and cultural resources, hydrology, aesthetics, noise, recreation, socio-economics, and safety. 

SCE's consultant team proposed undertaking the noise analysis this summer. The noise analysis is done to identify and evaluate the impact of noise generated by the operation of the hydroelectric project compared to the ambient noise levels found in the vicinity of the project.  As we all know, the record-breaking winter snow is now a record-breaking summer runoff in the Eastern Sierra, and Rush Creek is no exception. 

Graph courtesy of the Mono Lake Committee, using preliminary streamflow data provided by the L.A. Dept. of Water & Power.

Clearly, the epic runoff is causing exceptionally high ambient noise levels and will continue to do so over the summer.  These high ambient noise levels will skew a noise analysis so that the impact of the project's operational noise will not be representative of operations in a normal year. To attempt to use this year's ambient noise levels for a noise analysis of a hydroelectric power plant operation is simply bad science.

Allison Weber, Friends of the Inyo's Policy Associate, Water and Forest Campaign Manager, and Kate Kelly, Policy and Planning Consultant for Friends of the Inyo, who prepared this report, and June Lake community member David Rosky met with SCE staff and their consultant team to discuss our concerns with the timing of their noise study and request the study be rescheduled to next year.  SCE has agreed to defer the June and August noise data gathering but may still attempt to gather data this coming October.

We appreciate SCE's willingness to listen to and act upon our concerns. Friends of Inyo and the June Lake community will continue to monitor SCE's technical studies and advocate for using defensible data and the best available science for FERC's consideration of relicensing the project.


Inyo to Coso Newsletter

The latest issue of Inyo to Coso, the Conglomerate Mesa Coalition's Newsletter, features, among other news, a story on the abundance of desert flowers following this year's wet winter by botanist and desert friend Maria Jesus. 


The latest issue of the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition's newsletter, Every Last Drop, is also all about the wildflowers!   

Happy reading - and if you like what you read...Happy sharing!

Click here to access past issues of Every Last Drop.

Use the button below to subscribe to the newsletter. Help us spread the word!

BHCP Newsletter

And, not to be outdone, the Bodie Hills Coalition Partnership's Quarterly Newsletter also features some photos of wildflowers, plus others of the hills taken from an EcoFlight; hopeful news about sage grouse protection; mining updates; opportunities to engage with the coalition; and more! Read the latest issue here to keep up with all things Bodie Hills. You can also access the latest and past issues here. And use the button below to sign up to receive it in your e-mail inbox FREE.

In between newsletters, keep up with Bodie Hills news on social media: The BHCP has launched an Instagram, @bodiehills, this year to augment its social media following on Facebook and Twitter


Want to support Friends of the Inyo? Consider making a donation online today!
Or keep reading below to learn more about our ongoing Help Us Grow Our Circle of Friends...of the Inyo! campaign by purchasing a membership for a friend or loved one. It makes a great gift!

Thank you for your generous support.

Other Ways to Give

Many of our readers most likely received our mid-year funding appeal in late June, asking for monetary support for our anti-mining campaigns. We include it here again and ask that you consider making a donation today to this important work using the button below, so that the Eastern Sierra won't need to be haunted yet again by the destructive ghosts of mining. Thank you.  

Friends of the Inyo appreciates the following organizations and local businesses for their generous monetary sponsorship of our programs:


Inyo Mono Alpine County
Cattlemen’s Association


Remember to update the address to our new location:

Friends of the Inyo
621 W. Line St., Suite 201
Bishop, CA 93514


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