Invasion from Minnesota: The Proposed Moody Flats Quarry Project

Scenery to the west of Interstate 5 in the Mountain Gate area, the site of the proposed Moody Flats Quarry location. Photo courtesy of Janice Powell.

The Moody Flats Quarry Project needs to be put into context because it is so easy to decide it is not that big a deal because it will happen over the next 100 years.  I believe that it is going to be a big, ugly boil on the nose of Shasta County.  Not only is it awful looking, but it is full of stuff you do not want to deal with.  Air quality down.  Noise pollution up.  Traffic congestion up.  And if you look at the EIR closely, you will find that old bugaboo about water, water  pollution and mud slides tucked in there.

There is another part of this country that has gorgeous mountains, forests, rivers and streams.  Then some people with big bucks came along and wanted to take valuable material out of the ground, supplying jobs, they said, for everyone.  That place is called Appalachia, and what happened there is a crying shame.  Much of the natural beauty is gone.  The average personal income for residents is 25% below the national average.  The number of people who did not finish high school is much higher than the national average, while the percentage of people with college degrees is negligible.  The cities in Appalachia  seem to be doing OK, but the rural areas, not so much.
Ask yourself:  What does the north state have to offer?  It is a great place to live.  It is beautiful.  The air is generally very good, especially since they quit burning the rice fields.  Do we want to give that up so people who might have trouble finding the place can tear it up to make money, planting a huge eyesore in the face of at least every northbound vehicle forever?
The Environmental Impact Report (http://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/drm_index/planning_index/eirs/moodyflatshome.aspx) says that issue after issue can be made not significant, frequently by hiring consultants.  It reminds me of the dentist I had as a kid who didn’t think that local anesthetic was safe for children.  “This won’t hurt.”  He would say, and he was right.  It did not hurt him at all, but it was no fun at all for me.
I am certain that these impacts will not be significant to 3M (the developer of the proposed quarry), or its management thousands of miles away.  (Full disclosure: I own some stock in 3m. Not much, but some. )
I doubt 3M will look at the boil on our nose annually, but anyone going through Shasta County will be able to see it every day.
But the real hidden stuff in the EIR is at Section 3.6, and is about liquefaction and  landslides and avalanches due to the destabilization of the slopes by the mining activities.  We can rename the project the Appalachian Avalanche Project.  Much better than Moody Flats, don’t you think?

Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. The offices of Barr and Mudford, LLP, are at 1824 Court St. in Redding and can be reached at 243-8008.

Dugan Barr
Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967, primarily in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. He can be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, 243-8008, or dugan@ca-lawyer.com.
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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Kathy says:

    I’m trying to read 3.6 of the EIR but it’s not loading very fast at all. Is there a way to view just the 3.6 section? I’d like to post a link on Facebook.

    Thank you.

  2. Avatar Michelle Nicolls says:

    Hallelujia! Well written.

  3. Avatar david kerr says:

    The purpose of a quarry is to provide building materials. I suspect there will be negligible building in Humboldt, Shasta, Tehama, Butte or Trinity counties. Those are some of the worst places imaginable to invest.

    There are more new home starts in Metro Houston than the whole state of California. I would not be surprised if California loses a congressional seat in the next census.

    http://houston.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/04-02-14-boom-on-houston-notches-more-housing-starts-than-the-entire-state-of-california/

    Shasta County issues more death certificates than birth certificates. College graduates are moving to places with growing economies. The population is getting older and poorer. People once talked about baby boomer retirees from the metro areas moving to the North State to enjoy the beauty. Not going to happen for several reasons. The physician shortage is an important one. The case mix in Shasta County is so bad that it is difficult to recruit or retain physicians to care for the increasingly geriatric population.

    • Avatar name says:

      They do not need local (or Nor-Cal) building. They plan on cashing in on the raising of the dam. If that does not happen, then they have the rail spur, and 500+ trucks per day to their I-5 access.

      This will be a full-scale quarry, not like the local ones we are used to getting rock or gravel at.

      (good article Dugan)

  4. Avatar Peggy Elwood says:

    Thanks for the info, Dugan..hadn’t heard about this. Doesn’t look good to me.

  5. Avatar Teuchter says:

    3M, one of the largest companies in the world, is not investing in this because they want get a cut of local residential building. They are betting that Shasta Dam will be raised and the need for materials will be satisfied from this mine. With Prop 1 passed and politicians in their pocket, it’s an easy bet for a great return.

  6. Avatar gl says:

    Cool, now lets stop the train to nowhere, or any project that family members of Feinstein or Boxer earn money on!

  7. Avatar K. Beck says:

    I have seen a few quarries, they all look like “a big, ugly boil on the nose”.

    One major reason retirees come and then leave Redding, aside from the shortage of MDs, is the fact that there is no public transportation system. I know, there are buses, but when you are in a wheel chair, or have some other disability, buses don’t work. RABA doesn’t even run on Sundays. I am scouting out where to go when I retire from being retired. Sacramento has a light rail system. A friend recommends Portland, also with a light rail system. At first I dismissed Portland, too much rain. However, maybe too much rain would be better than no water to drink which is where CA is headed because there is absolutely no plan in place to store water when it does rain. Over and over again there are droughts in CA, over and over again there is no plan. When the City of Redding flushes out the water systems why are they not capturing that water to water city parks, etc.? Instead it goes down the drain. What a waste. We are all supposed to conserve, then the city does that? CA is a desert, there are too many people living in a desert who hang on to thoughts of green lawns and other water hungry plants. No one wants to adjust to reality.

  8. Avatar Lianne Bowma says:

    Please check out Noquarry.org for more information
    Also Shasta County Community Awareness: Moody Flats Quarry ( on Facebook)

    There are MANY people opposed to this nightmare of a project. It will take many, many people to stop it!

  9. Avatar sheryl says:

    Our property and 2 homes are just to the right of the picture nestled in those trees. I can’t even begin to express the disgust we have for 3M and this project. We have been fighting this since 2010. We will win Iam sure.

  10. Avatar J.R. Dickson says:

    Ask your elected county officials to make their position on this project known.

  11. Avatar Diane says:

    A big ugly boil on the nose of Shasta County isn’t even enough to describe the ugliness of this project. When I look up at the Iron Mountain scar where the smelters were
    shut down in 1919, and consider the resulting present-day pollution to the water of the Keswick Reservioir and the Sacramento River from that mine, I am hopeful that a mistake like that will not be repeated! Property values around the quarry would plummet.
    As you mentioned air pollution and noise pollution will result. The daily 560 truckloads of rock on our roadways is another issue. Over a 24 hour period, that is 23.3 truckloads an hour. I see no provisions in the Quarry proposal for the owners to help maintain Shasta Dam Blvd., Lake Blvd., I-5, Hwy 299 E., Eureka Way, Placer St., and Hwy 44, which will be used to transport the rock. The upkeep of those roads will be a prodigious expense to Shasta County. The Iron Mountain Mine was shut down 96 years ago. This quarry is going to happen for 100 years, and then? That will not be the end of the ramifications of this “boil.” I cannot fathom why we would allow this project to materialize. Just say, “NO!”

  12. Avatar pmarshall says:

    I hope it can be stopped. Yes, maybe they are hoping for the dam to be raised. I hope that doesn’t occur. There are many more ways to save water. We have always needed more dams built to the south of here — instead of just letting the water go out to sea. We don’t want 3M here either.

  13. Avatar david kerr says:

    California’s dam building era ended when Auburn was cancelled. The environmentalists and tribes would never allow Shasta to be raised.

  14. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    This letter was originally sent on 18 Dec 2014 to my next door neighbor who feels as does Dugan.

    The earth and her treasures are important to me as I think you understand from our adventures together. My guess would be you don’t know anyone who has given more time and effort toward improving our local precious public resources than this neighbor. Hopefully, I can craft a reply and explanation which will not cause us friction. Aggregate in many forms is the fundamental cornerstone, literally and figuratively, to our modern society. It can not be substituted or replaced. Without this raw material there are no hospitals, no schools, no roads, no driveways, no homes, no libraries, no durable and inexpensive roofs; in truth, nothing we know as civilization. So, the material will come from somewhere. The Bay Area has this resource in many locations and once supplied, and still could, all of its local demand. But because of urban encroachment and the usual “not in my backyard” political action pressure, the local governments have zoned the operations completely out of existence. The material is heavy and transportation to market over already burdened networks is a problem. Now all aggregate raw material for the Bay Area comes by barge from British Columbia where there are no environmental restrictions or regulations. Entire mountains are being plundered into rivers, streams and the Ocean without any concern or worry. Because another jurisdiction does not see this damage as important does not mean the result is harmless. This kind of transplanted (not here, we didn’t permit it near our homes) morality is not something I can support. When the “Exxon Valdez” grounded, everyone blamed the captain as if he was the only responsible party. However, the reason he was there was our need for oil. All drivers shared that guilt and the company paid our share, just like BP in the Gulf of Mexico!

    Interestingly, there has been no vocal outcry against coffee colored water flowing through Redding for weeks from Shasta Dam. Where is the vigorous opposition to 365 miles of denuded and lifeless shore? This is here for at least a thousand years and no one cares it helped destroy the once so plentiful salmon that there were twenty one canneries between Sacramento and Red Bluff. SR299W has been plundered along the Buckhorn for decades with a scar on the mountain forever. Anyone yelling? Moody Flats like Turtle Bay is a plan for a needed resource and all the controls imaginable and what we hear is this matter rivals the Black Death and we are all doomed.

    Anyway, 3M is a very responsible company much like Knauf with a long and trusted record of being good neighbors and healthy corporate leaders. Unlike Lord Keswick, once the project is concluded, even while it is being used, the quarry will be remediated into an amenity much as is happening near by at Lehigh Cement which has been operating almost without notice all the forty years I have lived in Redding. Eventually, the limestone will be gone, that rise will be leveled and a handsome park overlooking Lake Shasta will be given to the public. 3M has held title with the hope and promise of extraction for fifty years. Anyone who thinks this is news, who believes their entitlements have been taken from them, needs to protest and litigate their real estate agent, not 3M.

    Our county has little to offer except boundless natural resources. We have not been necessarily very bright in giving these away. Having the source of the world’s most polluted water above the fresh water supply to twenty million people and having taken down the ancient forests which surrounded us are two examples from among many including Shasta Dam without meaningful action for the anadromous fish. Things should be different now with CEQA, NPDES, EPA, RWQCB, ARCB, ACOE, USFWS, CDFW and the rest of the regulatory alphabet soup with all of the other permitting safe guards and continuous monitoring with real teeth. Change is hard to stomach and there will be people adversely affected, but for society as a whole and our county in particular, this proposal merits support. Someone somewhere has to supply this material and we should do it here where the harm and effects are limited to a few with benefits of a social and economic nature to us all. Exporting our demand for these products to others is as immoral as it is silly when our supply is here, of high quality and in proximity to surface transportation which is limited or unavailable in other locations. We owe it to others to do this extraction here where the harm is minimal to the fewest number of people and the environment.

    Randy

    “We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive.”
    ? Aldo Leopold

  15. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great comment Randall. If the community that would be affected by this project was a gated community of mansions with a golf course or two instead of the modest homes of dam worker descendants, would the plan be different? Is there a no-tolerance plan for any noise or dust for the community in the plan?
    This area has still recovering from the effects of Iron Mountain Mine and the Coram smelter that killed all of the trees for miles around, including groves of fruit trees in the valley.
    The “get in and make a profit, and get out before things go south” plan doesn’t work here anymore.
    Aggregate is not gold. Aggregate is a pretty generic term. There is nothing special about the “aggregate” at the proposed site.