Statement from Burning Man about USG plant closing in Empire, NV

The Burning Man organization is saddened at the news of the approaching closure of the USG operations in Empire, NV. The Empire gypsum mine and manufacturing plant has been an important part of the area’s economy and community for many decades.  We understand the breadth of the impact even a short closure can have in a community this small, and the implications for a long term closure on the businesses and service industries supported by USG employees. In the weeks ahead, we will monitor the situation. If there are opportunities to help, we will share this information with the Burning Man community.

We have already been asked about the Burning Man event, and our organization’s presence in the area year-round. While we can’t know the future, we do know how to stage an impossible event in a remote location, and have historically risen to meet the challenges of that pursuit. Doing so has been at the very heart of the experience, and we intend to continue our commitment to the Black Rock Desert and to the Gerlach/Empire residents and businesses that help support our annual presence there.

For now, our concern is not for our event, but how these towns and families will be affected by the changes ahead. In Burning Man’s 20 years in Nevada, we’ve put down roots of our own, investing in and supporting these communities; we’ve long aimed to be good neighbors in Nevada. We’ll continue to support Gerlach and Empire in whatever way we can, and our thoughts are with the workers and their families. We hope others will join us in sending best wishes to all who will be affected. [para_end]

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art headquarters) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, then transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009 to become Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He's the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Voices of Burning Man blog, and content manager for Burning Man’s websites. He also manages the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social networking efforts.

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