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Date Set For Hearing on Quarry EIR

The city of Temecula has reserved a courtroom for one hour to have a judge decide whether an Environmental Impact Report on the Liberty Quarry project was approved by the county legally.

An Oct. 18 date has been set to hear a motion for a ruling on whether the county acted legally in approving an Environmental Impact Report for a strip mining project

That project was subsequently rejected by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, a point which city officials believe makes the certification invalid.

City officials contend that once the Riverside County Board of Supervisors rejected the proposal to build a large quarry on the outskirts of town, the EIR for that project should not have been certified.

Granite Construction Company, which proposed the quarry, has since reduced the scope of its proposal in the hope of having some sort of mining project approved.

"This Motion for Judgment relates to the City’s first cause of action in the lawsuit which alleges that the County erred in an attempt to certify the EIR after they denied the Project," City Attorney Peter Thorson wrote in a news release.

"Specifically, the City argues that CEQA does not apply to disapproved projects and thus the County lacked the discretionary authority to certify the EIR."

However, county counsel and attorneys for Granite have filed a demurrer with the court that states the city's facts and current position are wrong.

According to documents filed with the court, the county first approved the EIR, then rejected the project.

The demurrer also contends that even if the city claims that rejection of the project nullified the EIR, that claim is also incorrect.

An agency can approve or reject at EIR independent of its decision whether to move forward with a project, attorneys state, citing precedents.

Under the law, attorneys contend, the courts would not have jurisdiction over a project that has not been approved -- when moving forward with the project entails basing it on the EIR in question, papers state.

California Environmental Quality Act guidelines would not be triggered simply by the preparation of an environmental study, court papers state, but rather, the attempt to use that study to begin a project.

A decision by the court at this point would be "purely advisory" the county contends.

Granite Construction's original 414-acre quarry plan was voted down 3-2 by the board on Feb. 16. Supervisors John Benoit and Marion Ashley supported the strip mine while Supervisors Bob Buster, Jeff Stone and John Tavaglione opposed it.

In an unexpected reversal, three months later, the board voted 3-2 in favor of certifying an 8,500-page environmental impact report -- commissioned by Granite -- that concluded many negative aspects of the proposed mining operation could be mitigated.

In the meantime, a fast-track process for strip mining projects was also approved by the county.

Supervisors voted 3-2 to add surface mines to the list of projects that can bypass the county's planning commission and head straight to the supervisors for consideration -- a process known as fast-tracking.

Buster and Stone were the dissenting votes.

At about the same time that fast-track approval was garnered, the Watsonville-based Granite returned with a scaled-down version of the project.

With an EIR already in place, it would be possible to bring before the county another version of the quarry and begin the approval process again.

Attached to this story is the memorandum of points and authorities supporting the county and Granite's position -- submitted to the court.

The hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 12 in Riverside.

Jerry Simeon October 01, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Great!! Let's turn a Fraud case and County Supervisors' debacle into a shell game. Who's putting up the money for this venture... obviously there are no "attorneys-in-fact" capable of bringing forth charges against these carpet bagger scam artists. What lessons do you think our children can learn from this on-going slaughter of our civil rights and democratic process?... Just what does it mean to cast your vote, gather signatures on petitions, hold group rallies at public hearings and meetings in a show of additional support only to be totally ignored by our elected representatives?? Who's paying for this unwarranted "dog and pony" show?
Katheryn October 01, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Read this article in the Temecula Patch and be sure to watch all the videos. then share this with all your friends on facebook if you are angry and not going to take it any longer. http://temecula.patch.com/articles/citizen-reader-shares-mining-sounds A good friend sent this email and said the following: "Do you think this is what happens when a mining operator/Developer seems to be in control of your elected politicians and the appointed officials these same politicians put in positions of authority. Do you think government employees have to follow the instructions of these same politicians in order to keep their government jobs? Do you wonder if someone would be fired if they didn't do what the politicians wanted them to do?" Listen to the Pechanga why the game change? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m_HypxyudI&feature=relmfu Have you seen the MaryAnn Edwards video featuring the Aberhill Ranch Boys and Girls Club with Castle & Cookes aggregate mining operation in the background it's across the street. Paul Jacobs may be onto something? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhckrqXX-L4 Another video of the Alberhill Ranch Boys and Girls Club which puts things in prospective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e12kTmWvn7U&feature=related
Misterschmidty October 01, 2012 at 04:03 AM
It is interesting to see that County Counsel is working with Granite counsel. What at team.
Katheryn October 01, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I believe the County had Granite Construction sign an indemnity clause, if the County is sued over the Liberty Quarry Project Granite Construction will pick up the tab. Now tell me who you believe the County is working for? Look at your neighbors in Lake Elsinore they have the same thing with Pacific Clay Products/Pacific Aggregates right? Who do you think that City works for?
Big John October 01, 2012 at 01:33 PM
What I don't understand is why there has not been a Grand Jury Investigation into this matter. Certainly with the weight of a Grand Jury, the politicians would at least sweat a little bit... I say give the Grand Jury a microscope and let them examine the hemroids on Tavaglione and see how he fares in his quest for state office. FOLLOW THE MONEY
Candi Oliver October 01, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Lets save the Human species and worry about the endangered species later. What stops us many for having control over these few, they are supposed to work for us not Granite. The Temecula Council needs to do more. They are running for election.... are we going to let them all back in? I ask each and every one of you running for office to tell us what you are going to do about this and when and now...... I want to know what they are going to do about this and now. They are awfully quite.
Dancer October 01, 2012 at 03:37 PM
@ Big John, rather crude but quite accurate statement I believe!
Don October 01, 2012 at 06:09 PM
The money should be easy to find, there has been plenty of it thrown around.
Cheri October 01, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Bottom line...the supervisors rejected this quarry...now all of a sudden they are trying to fast track it,,,smells very fishy...obviously shifty...I think it really needs investigation-its like boardwalk empire-someone is getting paid off-these are BAD officials Ashley,Benoit, and especially Tavaglione who is trying to change horses after the horse was a dead issue. Would they not need a whole new EIR because they are changing their quarry to a complete different idea? This is a total mess and these supervisors do not care about any democratic reality, we are suppose to live in a country where it is governed for the people and by the people....The people have spoken and so had the supervisors...it was over-how can they legally just uproot that???
B-Cat October 01, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Lets put those red light cameras all around the quarry and ticket all those monster trucks that cant stop so quickly, we can make millions $$$$$$$$ and its just as crooked as the fast trackers are.
The Republican October 01, 2012 at 11:24 PM
It's needed locally for the economy otherwise we pay high shipping costs for the same raw material from elsewhere. NIMBYS cannot point to all the other quarries in other parts of California and all the problems they have. NIMBYS make up problems that will be no problem here in reality.
Sam Bradstreet October 01, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I don't know of any quarry that sits above a bedroom community in a WIND TUNNEL. Just open up your window sitting at the check point and feel the wind rushing through that pass. Its the only cool air coming into the Valley from the south and now, for a few dollars we want to pollute that air and destroy the enviornment around the Pala burial grounds?? I don't think so.......to Republicans its all about the Corporate dollars. Other quarries have been so slow that layoffs are still underway. This is not an area job creator either as those laidoff experienced employees would be shuttled in. Granite made the mistake it could pull the wool over this valley......stop them.
Dave October 02, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Incorrect statements. The quarry will have an adverse impact on our economy unless, of course, the high shipping cost your refer to are preventing Temecula from establishing high paying basic science, engineering, and other tech jobs....I don't think so. The best part of you comment is that this quarry is somehow special and will not sound, smell or act like other quarries.....Brilliant!
Sam Bradstreet October 02, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Great comment Dave!!!!
Popeye October 02, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Tea Bagger babble. Nothing wrong with demand. Did you come in here with out doing your homework. San Diego County does not need the supply. Plus those are dirtbag jobs for the uneducated.
KB October 02, 2012 at 07:09 AM
Can the quarry site be bought - not annexed - by Temecula?
TVOR October 02, 2012 at 03:52 PM
There has been an awful lot of rhetoric about politicians being bought off in this debacle. If anyone out there has any evidence pointing to this will you please provide it to the Temecula City attorney or the city council? If this has in fact happened then someone somewhere out there has information that would support a grand jury investigation.
Don October 02, 2012 at 08:08 PM
It was pointed out to the supes about them having received money from Granite and they confirmed it. , but they also said that it didn't make any difference to the way they voted. They are allowed to take money for their election campaigns. Make of that what you will. They are as crokked as that street in San Fran Cisco
Don October 02, 2012 at 08:18 PM
I answer to 'The Republican', there are quarries all over Riverside County and there is one just six miles away in S,D,County which has laid off workers due to shortage of business. The ones in the Coachella valley do not blast and bore as the Liberty quarry would do, also there are many quarries in the State where they have problems and if you attended the hearings, you would know that.
S Smith October 13, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I thought the same thing! Who holds the deed to this land? and Can we offer to buy them out? I know of plenty of good Environmental folks who would step up!!

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