Defense of Place applauds California’s Amador County ranchers, farmers and Ione town residents who refuse to retreat from the economic might of San Francisco’s Farallon Capital Management Company in its push for a strip mine quarry and a hot asphalt plant that will destroy iconic California rangeland; siphon precious groundwater reserves; and imperil residents’ health, safety and rural quality of life. In its opposition to the quarry and the plant, the grassroots coalition commenced civic and legal actions to restore an open, public process and to repudiate the contempt for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) shown by Farallon, the developers, and Amador County’s Board of Supervisors.
On April 21, members of the Ione Valley Land, Air and Water Defense Alliance (Ione Valley LAWDA, LLC, founded by the late Col. Fraser West and daughter Sondra West-Moore) entered County offices to turn in a petition signed by more than 2,300 registered voters – almost double the required number needed – in support of a referendum that compels Amador County supervisors to either revoke their controversial and unpopular approval of the 50-year Newman Ridge Quarry and Edwin Center Asphalt Plant or to put the projects before the voters.
Also on April 21, the Alliance intensified their opposition by filing a lawsuit in Amador County Superior Court citing numerous CEQA violations by the County, the developers and Farallon Management among others. The suit focuses on the County’s failure to protect the local water supply from aquifer depletion caused by a projected industrial consumption of more than 100 million gallons annually from wells dug through questionably described geological features.