Mining company CEMEX has been granted an extension to continue operating along the San Joaquin River for the next few years.
Tuesday, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a three-year extension for CEMEX to continue operating the Rockfield aggregate quarry just north of the City of Fresno.
The backstory: In June, the county Planning Commission approved a four-year extension for CEMEX to continue operating the quarry, which was set to expire near the end of this month.
- The City of Fresno appealed the decision, necessitating Tuesday’s hearing by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.
- A major point of contention surrounding the issue centers on an environmental impact report from 1986 which the planning commission based its approval on.
- The county started the process for an updated environmental impact report in late 2019 when CEMEX first proposed to dig as deep as 600 feet at the quarry, which would provide access to enough material to keep mining for another century.
The big picture: While the planning commission approved a four-year extension, the county decided on three years to move the timeline up to pressure CEMEX to complete the environmental review for its latest proposals.
The other side: The city’s appeal was based on the county using the 1986 environmental impact review in its consideration for the extension, city Planning Director Jennifer Clark told the board.
- Clark pointed to the traffic numbers analyzed in 1986 being outdated. The former analysis identified average daily trips of just under 10,000 on Friant Rd. south of Willow Ave, but data from 2021 shows average daily trips close to 65,000.
- However, in response to a question from Supervisor Nathan Magsig, Clark said the city does not have data showing that most of the new trips on Friant Rd. are from CEMEX, rather than from the population growth in the region.
What we’re watching: Will the city bring a lawsuit against the county in order to halt all operations at the quarry? GV Wire reported last week that the Fresno City Council would consider legal action against the county if an extension was granted.