By Sondra West-Moore (Contact)
To be delivered to: John Plasse, County Supervisor, Richard Forster, County Supervisor, Ted Novelli, County Supervisor, Brian Oneto, County Supervisor, and Louis Boitano, County Supervisor
Newman Ridge is an untouched, gorgeous, two mile long, 475 foot high ridge of 200 year-old oaks and grasslands, with spectacular views of the surrounding Sierra foothills and valleys. Today, this ridge protects the Ione Valley in Amador County. A venture capital group has purchased the historic Howard Ranch that contains this ridge and now wants approval to strip mine it for the next 50 years. Additionally, this same group wants approval to build a new hot asphalt plant called Edwin Center North nearby, which will blow known cancer-causing toxins through the valley directly into the tiny country town of Ione. These projects would create tons of dust, high decibel blasting noise and vibration, diversion of scarce local water and could cause congestion from up to 200 trucks a day driving on two-lane local roads. Oak woodlands and rare habitats to dozens of species, some of which are threatened or endangered, would be permanently destroyed. The requested zoning change to Heavy Industrial will annihilate any chance this area has of attracting new clean business, as these developments would emit at least 100 tons of dangerous pollutants per year, and local air standards would never recover. These projects will cause nearby home and ranch values to collapse. The numbers of new mining jobs that have been promised are exaggerated in order to justify the project. The area is already served well by three local quarries and plants, running under capacity, so there is no business justification. The Environmental Impact Report did not investigate alternatives, failed to mitigate significant impacts and cannot be legally approved. Several State Agencies, including the Department of Transportation, Office of Mining Reclamation and Fish and Game are not supportive of this project, but their comments are being ignored. Local government needs to deeply consider the alternatives, such as expanding existing businesses which offer real jobs without massive environmental destruction, as well as developing this pristine land as a hiking, biking and equestrian Nature Park for all, working with interested large conservation organizations, to add revenue and value to the area. The local Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on October 9th at 10:30 a.m. in Jackson, California. We urge all Amador County Supervisors to Vote No on Newman Ridge and Edwin Center North Projects.
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