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Letter to the Editor: Speak out against the asphalt plant

In case you haven’t heard, Hat Creek Construction and Caltrans plan to open and operate an asphalt plant on the shores of our beautiful Feather River, in Delleker. The deadline to comment to the planning director on the CEQA application is June 10th, details are provided below for your convenience.
But an even more pressing deadline is the Portola City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 24th at 6pm, at the Portola City Council chambers on Gulling. With the city manager, John Kennedy, posting on facebook that the asphalt plant could benefit Portola, it is vital that everyone opposed to this misguided plan attend the meeting and ask that the City of Portola formally oppose the plant. While it is not technically up to the city to approve or disallow it, a formal opposition could help stop the project.
The council recently voted unanimously to end remote participation, so you must attend in person to have your voice heard. You can also submit comments to the council at https://tinyurl.com/mryadrfw, but I don’t believe they are read aloud at the meeting. The asphalt plant is #5 on the agenda so if you are running late, come anyway. If you don’t enjoy public speaking (who does?), come anyway—you can make your comments really brief, and simply ask that the council draft a formal opposition to the plant. I hope you will join me there. We need to pack the chambers. 
The asphalt plant would operate up to 24 hours a day, for at least three years, spewing toxic fumes and polluting the air and river. The river channel acts as a wind tunnel, and the prevailing winds would carry these airborne toxins directly into dense, residential Portola. Light pollution, noise pollution, toxic dust and vapors would directly impact residents in Delleker, Portola, Iron Horse, and the A-15/McLears Road area. The plant will use 25 gallons of water per minute, while local residents are asked to conserve. There is also a high risk of groundwater contamination and asphalt plants are known for producing chemical spills. 
In addition to the environmental and public health hazards, asphalt plants cause blight and lower property values. Businesses in the direct vicinity of the plant (there are several) would be negatively impacted by the blight, increased traffic, and people just not wanting to do business in the area, while the health of the employees is at risk. Increased truck and big-rig traffic—at least 150 trips per day to/from site—would increase traffic and negatively impact all of our local businesses, the safety of our highways, road and pedestrian ways, and would damage our tourism economy. For those of you living in the Mohawk Valley—please remember, it all runs downstream, and join us in this fight. We must all band together to prevent this potential catastrophe.
An asphalt plant does not belong on a beautiful river with “Wild and Scenic” status, that provides drinking water to millions of Californians, or in an area with a burgeoning outdoor recreation-based tourist economy, nor adjacent to communities. Do everything you can to oppose this project. Grab a friend and speak out at Wednesday’s council meeting, and most importantly, provide your comments by June 10th to Tracy Ferguson, Zoning Admin, by emailing [email protected] with the subject line “Hat Creek Construction Site Development Permit CEQA MND 686 Comment.” Or send your comments by mail to Tracy Ferguson attn: Tim Evans, 555 Main St., Quincy, CA, 95971. Be sure to use the subject line noted above so that your comment may be added to the comments on the CEQA permit application. The health and well being of our community, economy, and beloved Feather River is at stake.
Heidi Hart
Portola

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