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Planning Group works to re-open quarry EIR scrutiny

 

Last updated 11/29/2007 at Noon



The Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) voted unanimously on a November 19 item, but interestingly, it was not the original item on the agenda. Initially, Jim Oenning, planning group member, prepared a letter and backup documentation to be sent to Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn to request a reexamination of the already-approved Rosemary’s Mountain Quarry Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

Apparently, Oenning reviewed some studies that he felt were not taken into consideration when the approval was made. These studies underscored potential health risks to community members near the mining operations who could be affected by particulate material (PM).

“We really need to know more about how a community could be affected by this,” said Oenning.

Though the committee agreed with Oenning and were concerned about the environmental impacts of a quarry, members such as Anne Burdick were not convinced that Oenning’s current backup material was substantial enough to sway the Board of Supervisors to revisit the Rosemary’s Mountain EIR.

Chairman Jim Russell proposed a motion for a continuance on this item until January, giving Oenning enough time to gather more pertinent research to state a stronger case.

“We are only going to get one shot at this to get the attention,” stated Russell. All members agreed. Oenning is certain a revised packet of informational research will be ready in January.

Before this motion was made, a slight war of words ensued regarding the two studies Oenning had used in his research: Near-Source Measurement of Crystalline Silica Concentrations in California: Pilot Study and Lidar characterization of crystalline silica generation and gravel plant by UC Davis.

Gary Nolan of Granite Construction gave his opinion regarding a reexamination of the Rosemary’s Mountain EIR.

“I just can’t believe this community treats all industries with suspicion and distrust,” he said. “Agriculture pollutes the watersheds with nitrates and pesticides. Are they treated like we are? I really don’t think so.”

Nolan also reminded the FCPG and its attendees that material for all the roads, curbs and gutters being constructed in Fallbrook come from quarries. “SANDAG and the county said we need quarries and it was unanimously approved twice.”

As far has Nolan is concerned, there is no reason to require a new EIR. None of what Oenning proposed was sufficient, he contends.

“These reports are one in the same,” said Nolan. “The Lidar report is nothing new.”

Nolan went on to reiterate that the San Diego Air Pollution Control District reviewed the new information and issued the necessary permits for the Rosemary’s Mountain project. The court, after its review, Nolan said, also found the EIR sufficient with regard to the health risk assessment for diesel PM10 emissions.

“The bottom line is that there is nothing new to look at,” Nolan argued. “There is no basis to reopen this EIR.”

Nolan also criticized attorney Joseph Hudson for citing the case of RiverWatch vs. County of San Diego in his public commentary earlier in the evening.

“It does not apply in this case,” said Nolan. “I think if Mr. Hudson rereads the case he will find that out.”

Hudson appeared agitated by Nolan’s remarks and rushed to the podium to defend his legal expertise. With a raised voice, Russell instructed Hudson to wait his turn.

“Wait until everyone has had a chance to speak,” said Russell.

Other members of the community voiced concern about Rosemary’s Mountain Quarry and said they wanted the Board of Supervisors to reexamine the EIR. Concerns of toxic particulate matter in the atmosphere, contaminated water and diesel emissions were discussed.

A local community member suggested using well-known company Polaris Minerals (Canada) to deliver aggregate to California. “They provide aggregate to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Beach,” she claimed.

“You don’t put a quarry in the middle of a new town center and college,” said Rua Petty.

Once everyone was given an opportunity to speak, Hudson approached the podium once more and spoke into the microphone.

“I’ve practiced law for 30 years in New York City and in the city of Los Angeles,” said Hudson. “I am deeply offended that my personal and professional integrity was called into question by a gentleman [Nolan] who has not practiced law in a major firm.”

Earlier in the evening, Hudson brought up many points, one being that new technology is a moving concept. What may not have been identified as a problem years ago may be detected today; this is why the Rosemary Mountain Quarry EIR should be reexamined, he explained.

Nolan warned that if Mr. Hudson continued to write legal briefs and file injunctions, [Granite Construction] will “do the same.”

“We can do this for the next 20 years or you can help us become valued members of this community; that’s what we want to be,” said Nolan.

 

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