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.