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Mining company to pay Riverside County's legal bills


Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
Issue 45, Volume 16.


RIVERSIDE - A mining company will be responsible for paying all of Riverside County's legal bills tied to lawsuits filed to stop a mine near Temecula that a divided Board of Supervisors today approved for expedited review.

Watsonville-based Granite Construction agreed to indemnify the county against all legal challenges to the proposed Liberty Quarry.

Following a nearly three-hour public hearing, the board voted 3-2 to put the project on "fast-track" processing, with the goal of deciding within the next 90 days whether to grant permits for the 414-acre mine, which would be situated on a mountainside at Interstate 15 and Rainbow Canyon Road.

One of the conditions for the quarry to be considered was a promise from Granite to cover any litigation-related expenses that might arise.

The city of Temecula has filed two lawsuits challenging the legality of the project and the board's actions to fast-track it.

Under the compacts unanimously approved by the board, Granite and the county will be jointly represented by the Sacramento-based law firm Harrison, Temblador, Hungerford & Johnson in defending against Temecula's suit seeking to invalidate an environmental impact report commissioned by Granite for the quarry.

The county will be represented separately by the Roseville-based firm Cota Cole in battling Temecula's suit alleging that the county's steps to implement fast-track procedures for mines and reclamation projects violated state law.

In both cases, Granite is picking up the tab, according to the Office of County Counsel.

"Is this a legal partnership, or are you partners in crime?" Temecula resident Paul Jacobs asked the board. "Once you make Advertisement
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a deal with the devil, you can't go back on it. You are putting the faith and credit of the county behind a proposal created outside the purview of county staff. You're shredding whatever integrity remains in the county seat of government."

Supervisor Jeff Stone, a quarry opponent, joined his colleagues in signing off on the covenants with Granite, but not before gaining assurances from County Counsel Pamela Walls that if the company and the county have a falling out, Granite will still pay all quarry-related legal bills.

Walls said that if it becomes necessary for Harrison, Temblador to end its representation of the county and exclusively represent Granite, the latter must still pay for the county's defense.

Quarry opponents insist the mine will produce health-damaging levels of silica dust, mar area aesthetics, ruin rural peace, add to road congestion and permanently alter landscapes that the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians consider sacred.

Quarry supporters counters that the third party testing that has been reported around their other mines has proven the air has not been polluted, and in fact, the air quality testing is cleaner than the emissions around the Promenade Mall. They contend that there are also other countywide benefits, such as increasing the supply of construction-grade aggregate -- asphalt, gravel and sand -- closest to the areas that need it most in Riverside and San Diego counties.

Granite has estimated the county will receive up to $93 million in revenue from tipping fees at the proposed mine over its 50-year lifespan and it will be unseen from Temecula.


 

10 comments

Comment Profile ImageTemecula Resident
Comment #1 | Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm
The city of Riverside County and the counc. members already voted this down 3-2 a few months back after much debate and proof by former City Manager of Temecula with fact based data that having Granite Construction Quarry simply does not make sense. If they want to fast track it (already voted down), then I suggest the 3 Yes voters (Riverside Council members) should have the Quarry zoned for their own "backyard" in Northern Riverside. This fast track is a political play by a Riverside County member (one of the 5) that is leaving...This is a joke. Granite Construction Company - Don't Come Here. We all signed a petition and wrote in to all the council members (5)...it was voted down...so let it go Granite Construction company and you 3 paid off council members...let it go...not good for Temecula residents...3rd party is not objective....someone paid for those results...the vote was concluded, NO FAST-TRACKing...illegal and political...if you want the quarry (3 council members)...let's have Granite come to your neighborhood and polute your kids!
Comment Profile ImageFallbrook res.
Comment #2 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 2:13 am
Thank you comment #1, you said what I feel. How many time will it pop back up? No means no! You can keep changing the words, but, we still say "NO". Please, go away now.
Comment Profile Imagemountain mama
Comment #3 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 7:02 am
This whole things smells like rotten eggs.
Comment Profile ImageThink this through
Comment #4 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 8:08 am
People need to think this through. Groups or companies indemnifying other agencies etc. is common practice, but people who are not business savvy or who don't understand common practices in government get all concerned and paranoid.
How would you like it if you had a business (like a developer, etc.) that purchased land that was zoned by the local planning group for your specific purpose. You purchase this land in good faith, follow all the rules, spend millions of dollars on environmental impact reports, engineering, etc. and that all proves that things will be good and acceptable and you won't be hurting the people or air around the project. Your business is going to provide jobs, a needed product or service, etc. You plan it so that it won't be seen by the neighbors, there will be no loud explosions, the traffic in and out of the business is on the freeway side of a hill where there are no homes to be affected by the trucks. You do everything you can to be a good neighbor and contributing business in the community. You plan on bringing $93 million dollars in revenue which is badly needed by the county.

Then a bunch of wackos organize against your company, spend a bunch of money to fight you and spread lies about what your project is going to look like, how much noise its going to make, how its going to affect everyone's property values, and worst lie of all...how it's going to make everyone sick from dust in the air. This is unfounded of course and the planning group for the county knows it's not true. They have the reports, etc. to feel comfortable in passing the project which has met all their requirements. Then the crazies get the community and the board of supervisors all foaming a the mouth like everyone is going to die and the supervisors feel like they have to fight it in order to keep in good graces with the community. The supervisors who do the right thing and vote responsibly are villified and treated badly at other community events by the wackos who follow them around to "boo" them in public.
Get educated people. Don't believe the wackos. Don't be so anti-business.
Comment Profile ImageIT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY ?
Comment #5 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 9:36 am
IS ALL ABOUT MONEY !! THE MINING COMPANY TO PAY MITIGATION ABOUTH HEALTH ,ENVIROMMENT ,AND CLAUSES THAT WILL SHUT THEM DOWN ON THE FIRST MISTAKE !! IN ANOTHER WORDS HOW ABOUT PUT 200 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE COFFERS OF TEMECULA AHEAD OF TIME ,AND ANOTHER 200 MILLION IN THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY ?? .AND 500 MILLION TO THE SACRED LAND OWNERS PECHANGA BAND OF LUISENO INDIANS OF TEMECULA ANOTHER 500 MILLION ?? THEN MAYBE THE QUARRY MAY STILL HAVE A CHANCE !!
Comment Profile Imageonly the facts
Comment #6 | Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 at 9:55 am
Don't you people know that the highest bidder wins and Granite has more money than you or Temecula and this story proves it !!
NOW WHAT?
Comment Profile ImageRancherBill
Comment #7 | Thursday, Nov 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm
This issue has become so convoluted and full of red herrings it resembles a bait tank. Approval of the placement of a pollution producing blasting operation, adjacent to a population of over 100,000 people, is not supposed to happen in America. My highest hope is that there is an investigation taking place today, unknown to the general public, that will reveal activities in violation of existing laws, regulations, and codes. The perpetrators of those acts should be called to account, with justice and equity introduced into the process. For 60% of the Supervisors to throw 5% of the County's population under the bus can never be justified as "for the common good."
Comment Profile ImageThink this through
Comment #8 | Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at 6:58 am
AGAIN PEOPLE...LOOK AT THE FACTS...READ THE EIR REPORT...STOP BELIEVING THE EXTREMIST WACKO PROPAGANDA! THERE IS NO POLLUTION PROBLEM. RANCHER BILL-ALL OF THE CODES AND LAWS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED. ITS BEEN UNEDUCATED PUBLIC OPINION THAT HAS BEEN THE PROBLEM.
Comment Profile ImageRancher Bill
Comment #9 | Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm
Think this through, the current conflict over the location of the mining operation is democracy at work. I anticipate that you would agree that a successful democracy should operate for the good of the people. For a democracy to be successful and sustained, the constituents must be educated. If this point fails, those elected to represent them will impose their own will, their own opinions, not the will of the people, and the democracy will fail.

The terms used, such as extremist, wacko, and uneducated, are both degrading and inflammatory and do not contribute to meaningful debate. If one was able to determine it, the measure of the level of education of those opposed to the location of said mine, would probably be significantly higher than that of those in favor. This point is moot however, as it will continue to go unmeasured. Only the reader will be able to draw a conclusion that based on the tone and content of the rhetoric.

What drives this entire conflict is that a corporation has felt the need to spend untold amounts of political capital, exercise a huge amount of political muscle, spend tremendous amounts of money, and send forth a barrage of caustic rheteroic to vehemently oppose the will of the people. A very undemocratic position under any analysis. One motivating factor could be that the amount spent to date cannot be saved or mitigated and must therefore be defended at the expense of more expense, ie. indemnification. All this in opposition to the people.

The bottom line is that the corporation does not want to drive so far to deliver their product. This valley is nearly built out, therefore the decomposed rock that emerges from that pit will go somewhere else. That is the ideal location for the pit, "somewhere else." That being said, the upside of relocation is that the corporation would not have to drive so far after all, a win-win for all concerned.

I further submit that the opposition to the mine is not "extremist wacko propaganda," but democracy at work at the local level, and in support of the people of that democracy. This debate demands the same amount of respect and dignity that one would offer to an issue at a higher level of government. As I remarked earlier, there are so many red herrings in this debate, it resembles a bait tank. The situation needs to be evaluated under the bright light of the principles of our form of government. Questions need to be asked, and answered, regarding whether what has transpired to date on this issue is in concert with those principles.
Comment Profile Imagedave halo
Comment #10 | Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm
think this through - a short reply:
a rezone, general plan amendment, etc implies that a "use" is discretionary. it is not a right. a landowner or developer has a right to file an application only. take the time to learn what the actual property zoning is, the allowed (by right) uses, and what uses, again, are discretionary before you go crying about wackos taking away a billion dollar global corporations rights.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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