From Where I Stand: Supervisor Hagwood weighs in on mine

The proposed aggregate and asphalt plant in Portola has generated a lot of correspondence and phone calls for me in recents weeks. This is not proposed in the district I represent but it is, and will be, a source of discussion county wide until the matter is finally decided.
I have made myself conversant with the proposal and application that has been submitted to the Plumas County Planning Department. I know the area where this proposed project would be located. I know many of the families who reside there. I cannot support this project. I support mining just as I support the logging and timber industry. I desperately want to bring industry and jobs to our county. The location of this project is simply not appropriate given the size, scope and duration for which the applicant is asking.
Historically there has been a 10 acre aggregate on this site. The proposal is to expand it to approximately 250 acres. The application suggests that the operation would draft approximately 50,000 gallons of water from the aquifer. The same aquifer that supplies numerous homes down slope.
An asphalt plant would require the presence of substantial quantities of petroleum products and other chemicals in addition to oil and fuel for the operation of heavy equipment.
The hours of operation could exceed 20 hours a day which would require the introduction of artificial lighting on a scope that would make it visible from miles away. Truck and heavy equipment traffic would be introduced where presently there is little at best. Rock quarries are not quiet places so there would be a sound issue where currently there is none. These are a handful of contemporary issues that would be created upon opening.
What would the long term issues look like? If/when residential water supply or contamination presents itself in 10 to 30 years who will bear the cost of litigation related to “foreseeable” and “predictable” consequences of the decisions that are being made today? The county would. Ask the City of Portola what it’s like having to deal with the now closed landfill that is in the same general area of the proposed mining project. There’s a saying in the risk management world: “if it’s predictable, its preventable.”
This might be a great proposal for a different location but it’s a horrible idea for this neighborhood. The planning director/administrator will be making her findings based on an objective evaluation of applicable zoning, general plan and other legal factors. Her decision will be made absent any emotion and will be strictly based on relevant professional guidelines. She is very competent and we are lucky to have someone of her caliber in Plumas county. Regardless of her decision it is my strong belief that one party or the other will appeal the decision to the full Board of Supervisors as is the prescribed process. When this happens you know where I stand.
Greg Hagwood
Supervisor District 4