Sonora, CA — Following a legal threat from the Central Sierra Environmental Resources Center, Tuolumne County has agreed to Blue Mountain Minerals request to rescind the approval of the company’s 27-acre ag fill expansion project.
The project was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in early January. The county required a Mitigated Negative Declaration environmental review, and the lawsuit centered around whether a full EIR should have been required. CEO Jeff Redoutey told the Supervisors that it is a business decision to go ahead and conduct a full EIR, rather than try to fight the lawsuit in court. “It simply is less expensive to step back and do the EIR, than it is to pay a lot of lawyers,” he said. “And that’s exactly what we would have been doing.”
All of the Supervisors stated that they would “reluctantly” support Blue Mountain Minerals request to rescind the project approval. District Five Supervisor Karl Rodefer was very critical of the lawsuit. “It’s not about the legal issues of the project, because our staff did their homework well, and Blue Mountain Minerals did their work well,” he claimed. “Rather, this is about the ever continuing abuse of CEQA by small minded, self-interested individuals or groups, that do not represent the majority of our county.”
The vote to rescind the approval was 5-0. It was noted at the meeting that it will cost the company around $200K to conduct the EIR and it will take nine months to a year.