Thursday, June 7, 2007

Water Threat Added To Anti-Truck Effort

By Nao Braverman
Members of the Environmental Coalition of Ventura County introduced a new flaw in the Diamond Rock mine project’s environmental impact report that could support arguments against the mine proposal.
Critics of truck traffic through Ojai have repeatedly cited the harm to air quality, safety and local tourism, caused by the increasing gravel trucks from near by mines. All these were undermined by the environmental impact report for the Diamond Rock mine released in May, according to members of the Committee to Stop the Trucks!
But members of the of Ventura County coalition brought up yet another serious environmental impact that was not properly addressed in the report: the extraction of groundwater.
The Santa Barbara County mine projects would extract 55.24 acre-feet per year from the ground water basin during an average production year of 500,000 tons of gravel and 77.11 acre-feet per year, according to the EIR.
Though Santa Barbara County has a policy of extracting no more than 31-acre feet per year, the mine project’s expected extraction significantly exceeds that threshold.
The effect of extracting too much groundwater could cause a failure in water wells used by agriculture producers in the area, according to the report by the environmental coalition.
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