Letter to the Editor: No one would choose to live near a mine

We all drive on roads, right? However we don’t choose to build our homes next to open pit mines. Why would the government of Plumas County allow a huge mine to be built in the midst of one of our neighborhoods?

Everyone in Plumas County must be stunned by the proximity of the proposed aggregate mine and asphalt plant immediately next to the community of Portola. As a former local business owner I can see the economic attraction this would have for the few in the county who would profit from it. However all of us can understand the horror which neighboring homeowners feel looking at the magnitude of this industrial complex which could possibly come to their backyards.

One might say there are not many areas in the county that contain good sources of material that are already in use as a permitted mine site. I question that there may not be many good sources of material away, far away from our homes. In 1989 a ‘special use’ permit allowed a 10-acre sand and gravel pit, no water use, no fuel storage, no giant buildings. The planning department can approve another ‘special use’ permit for a big mine elsewhere, not next to our communities.

How big? The ‘revised’ special use permit would allow a 256-acre quarry. The corporation plans a rock crusher, lime, and asphalt plants working up to 24 hours a day, and to store 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel. It includes a 450’ facility to store wastewater before funneling it to Grizzly Creek then to the Wild and Scenic Feather River.


I am a former Portola resident who still owns land there. Like all of us who choose to live here I cherish the quiet rural lifestyle I believe is promised by the City of Portola, my county supervisors, and the Plumas County General Plan. In fact the General Plan does offer what appears to be protections:

To improve the health and well-being of all Plumas County residents.
 The General Plan Update preserves and protects Plumas County’s natural beauty, protects natural habitats, meets and sustains the basic needs of clean and available water, meets and sustains the basic needs of clean air.

Development within the County is planned in a manner which will provide opportunities for current and future residents to enjoy rural, community-oriented living environments that are similar to those currently found in the County.

Mining Resource Lands  The purpose of this designation is to encourage the production and conservation of minerals, while preserving the values related to recreation, water resources, air quality, agriculture and timber resources, aesthetics and wildlife and fisheries habitat protection.


Coordinate with the City of Portola in land use planning and development within their sphere of influence and joint planning areas. Plan towards compatibility and coordination of land use designations.

Increasingly in the last several decades, Plumas County’s natural environment has made the County an attractive location for recreation, second homeownership and retirement living.

The limited supply of prime land is not necessarily a problem given the low projected population and employment growth rates and also reflects the County’s historic attitude towards maintaining the natural environment, which is one of the County’s most valuable assets in terms of the local quality of life. During the General Plan time horizon, it will be important to revisit and confirm or modify land-use designations to ensure that development occurs where it will best support new housing and economic development while limiting the impacts on the natural environment.

In planning and implementing economic development activities, it will be important to ensure that these values, preservation and enhancement of the County’s natural assets, are maintained and enhanced”


If it happens in Portola, a mine complex could be approved next to any one of our communities. Please join your friends and neighbors throughout Plumas County, email your supervisor to say NO to mines in residential neighborhoods.

Thank you,

Adrienne Stenson

Quincy, CA