Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center Thursday announced it had filed suit against Tuolumne County’s government because the county had given the green light to having 27 acres of oak woodland buried under waste generated by Blue Mountain Minerals, a limestone products producer near Columbia.
In a nutshell, county analysts determined that the proposed new waste disposal plan for the mine did not have a significant impact on the environment in part because the company would have new oaks planted. CSERC says future plans to plant new oaks don’t make up for eliminating existing woodlands.
Such conflicts may grow. A similar legal battle is raging in Amador County, where the proposed Newman Ridge quarry is the subject of a lawsuit by ranchers who don’t want the noise and other environmental impacts. Yet throughout the Lode, officials eager to approve anything that might bring jobs and tax revenue are reluctant to kill projects. And extraction of minerals or gravel is one of the few things that seems to be drawing some outside investment here.