The Sierra Club, along with local citizens’ group Yolo Land and Water Defense, filed a lawsuit against Yolo County and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors over the mining and reclamation project. Teichert Shifler.
The Teichert Shifler Mining and Reclamation project seeks to establish a new mining operation to extract sand and gravel aggregates along lower Cache Creek. Known as the Teichert Shifler operation, mining would take place on 264.1 acres of a 319.3-acre site, with other project-related uses on the remaining 55 acres.
The lawsuit, which was filed late last week, seeks to challenge the environmental impact report (EIR) certification of the Teichert project and the approval of the 30-year mining rights and permit granted to Teichert Inc. for the project, according to a Sierra Club press release. The lawsuit, however, does not seek to stop aggregate mining in Yolo County, but rather requires the county to comply with California environmental quality law before allowing Teichert to go from forward with the mining project.
“The Sierra Club realizes that the aggregate mining industry has a place in Yolo County as an important local source of construction materials used in buildings, roads and bridges,” said Alan Pryor, President of the local band Sierra Club Yolano. “But environmentally responsible mining cannot take place until the county recognizes the problems created by existing mining practices. Only then can the necessary steps be taken to compel mining companies to correct these shortcomings while continuing to extract aggregates and sand in an environmentally friendly way.
On January 11, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors approved the Teichert project and certified the EIR by a 4-to-1 vote, with Supervisor Gary Sandy voting against the motion, citing the fragile state of the county’s aquifers as an argument. .
“With the amount of money we are investing in Wild Wings to try to protect them from further risk to their groundwater in the future, not to mention all of the people who are perched in this cup around Wild Wings and the site of the project, I think they have too much at stake here to move forward recklessly,” Sandy previously explained. “Land without water is worthless and providing water to people once their wells have burst is an expensive task. “
The final EIR, which was originally published in October 2021, identified 12 significant impacts, including loss of agricultural land, impacts on biological resources and cultural and tribal resources, noise impacts and increased miles traveled. by vehicles. According to the EIR, all impacts could be mitigated to “less than significant levels”, except for four areas (loss of agricultural land at project and cumulative level and increase in vehicle kilometers traveled at project and regionally), said Heidi Tschudin, Yolo County contract planner.
The lawsuit, however, alleges that the EIR failed to properly analyze the negative environmental impacts of the project, including effects on groundwater and the possibility that farmland could not be reclaimed to its original quality.
The EIR states that after 30 years, the mined property is to be reclaimed, with most of the land being reverted to agricultural use and the remainder becoming a permanent water reservoir and turned over to the county.
During the public comment session at the January 11 board meeting, Dr. Charles Salocks, who has a doctorate in environmental toxicology and has been outspoken in his efforts to stop the mining project, argued that the earth would not be able to be returned to its previous state due to the methylmercury which could be further accelerated in the ecosystem by mining. The lawsuit says the EIR improperly analyzes and mitigates the production of methylmercury in the water.
The lawsuit further states that the EIR “significantly underestimates” the miles traveled by heavy goods vehicles and the resulting pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The lawsuit would require the county to fully disclose and further assess the environmental impacts of aggregate mining as currently permitted by the county and commit to putting in place mitigation strategies to reduce the impacts.
“Aggregate mining poses substantial environmental impacts for rural residents and farmers located near these mines in addition to posing great environmental hazards if not done properly,” the press release reads. “The county must address this reality through appropriate mitigation measures which, to date, have not taken place. The lawsuit filed today seeks to correct that error.