Letter to the Editor: Let’s find a better solution for the asphalt plant
Who would have thought in today’s crazy world we would be arguing about an asphalt plant. There are so many angles to this that make it a divisive topic. One side wants progress and says it must go somewhere or we will go back to traveling on gravel roads, and an industrial area is perfect for that. The other side says it is in a floodplain and next to wildlife habitat and a railroad crossing. Both are very important points, but are just the surface of the conversation. In my opinion, I believe this is a poor plan and was also a bit shady. Here are a few of the reasons and concerns I, as well as others I have spoken to, have.
Why was this land purchased years ago, before the first proposal on the east side of town? If so, how were the zoning, environmental studies, water use, fire access studies done without any public knowledge? I’m no expert on this so it could be a totally normal process, but in a small town it is odd it was kept so secret.
Regarding water use, according to the site proposal packet that was made public, this site plans to use tens of thousands of gallons of water per day. This will be pulled from Grizzly Lake CSD, which already has summertime water restrictions for the residents of Delleker. Now I know water is a hot commodity, and for this project must come from somewhere, but is a small neighborhood’s water system the best answer?
Power: this is a small side note but I believe an important one to show the poor planning put into this. In the same project document, they mention pulling power for the site from Plumas Sierra REC. The only problem with this is that Liberty Energy serves that area. This seems like a large oversight from a high dollar project to not know who provides power to your property? I have heard a rumor they plan to run generators instead of getting power from either of the above. Don’t you just love the sound of a huge industrial generator rumbling through the valley day and night?
Access and traffic: my family personally has a stake in this topic as we have a business on Delleker Road, but I believe it’s worth a thought from all. The proposed traffic from this is 150-200 trucks going round trip per day on this small road. How will that affect the business along that road? Will you be able to get in and out of the tire shop, the auto repair businesses, the transfer station, the card lock? Or will you be waiting for lines of semi-trucks to go past. What if some of those businesses are forced to close due to inaccessibility by their customers? That causes loss of local jobs, loss of livelihood and loss of local businesses. What if a train parks on the crossing as they sometimes do? Will the trucks back up to Highway 70?
The Highway 70 intersection, those of you that have tried turning out of Delleker Road and heading west on Highway 70 know the blind hill there can hide a car and is just a recipe for accidents with this amount of truck traffic there. Again, small side note but worth a thought.
Local businesses and jobs: I have heard some say they are for this project as it will create. I do not believe this is the case. The few people required to run the plant will be brought in from within the company as well as the truck drivers, so no local jobs will be created. As for fuel and tires, do we not believe they will use their own fuel and mobile mechanics? Why pay for that locally when you have your own already? And for the concrete plant we already have, what is stopping them from setting up their own small batch plant for the concrete they need? Again, why pay for it when you already have it? Our local businesses gain nothing and lose ease of access and time from their own drivers sitting in traffic.
Imagine Saturday and Sunday dump traffic trying to get to the transfer site with the new traffic as well. Sounds like a cluster does it not?
We also cannot forget the neighborhood of Iron Horse which is three hundred yards from the site. What a miserable 3 years for those folks if this happens.
As for the environmental impacts and train crossing, I believe those have been touched on enough by others.
Now these are just my gripes. If I am wrong on anything or misspoke, I would love to be corrected as that is the point, to come together as a community and find a solution for this problem. I know it is impossible to find one that makes everyone happy, but this plan seems flawed. I have seen proposals to put this asphalt plant in another location such as the sand-house by Highway 395, and a few others. Wherever it is, should have its own highway access, easy water and power access, and away from as many homes as possible. So, I put it out to the community, the state, and the contractor. Let’s have public meetings and conversations. Let’s find a solution to this. Let’s improve the highway, improve Plumas County. Do not go buying land and then ask forgiveness, as that plan is clearly not working for anyone.
Chaz M Riggs