October 29, 2009
In a quarter page ad published in the 28 October, 2009 edition of the Fernley Leader, Mr. Curt Chaffin asserts that one of the reasons he should be retained in office as the Ward Four City Councilman is for "not falling prey to reports put out by a branch of the Sierra Club," and for supporting for the Mustache Pozzolan Mine in Fernley.
Here are the facts regarding the pozzolan mine:
1. Pozzolan is a cement additive derived from diatomaceous earth. The approximate composition of raw pozzolan material from the Mustache Quarry is 81.5 percent Crystalline Silica.
2. Crystalline Silica is classified by the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 human carcinogen. Crystalline Silica has also been classified by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) as a substance which may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen.
3. The special use permit Mr. Chaffin voted to approve establishes mining operations on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property in section 28, township 20 North and range 24 East. The quarry site and staging area will be approximately 1 � miles west of US Hwy 95A, and 1 � miles south of Sage Street in Fernley, NV. The quarry project area abuts section 27 of the city Master Plan parcel map. This area is currently zoned high density residential placing the quarry site and staging area within feet of a planned high density residential zone.
4. The Fernley High School and numerous established residential home sites are within two miles of the quarry site and staging area. Many established residential home sites are within feet of both the preferred and alternate access and transport routes. The primary and alternate access routes are almost entirely through areas zoned high and medium density residential. Both the primary and alternate transport routes will entail heavy truck transport operations through established residential neighborhoods, and current planning is for twenty truck loads of pozzolan per day for the next twenty five years.
5. The quarry operation will require direct surface mining of pozzolan silica deposits. Surface mining means bulldozers (CAT D8s or similar) will be used to remove the surface growth medium (top 12 inches) as well as the remaining overburden. The bulldozers will then rip the pozzolanic material to break it up and make it readily available to be loaded into trucks for transport. The bulldozers may also be used to move the pozzolanic material into raised furrows to facilitate use of wheel loaders to load transport trucks.
6. Environmental impact assessments and case studies from numerous similar projects clearly indicate that impacts to air quality inevitably occur during mining. Fugitive dust originates through vehicle travel, land clearing, ripping the pozzolanic material, truck loading operations, hauling, and wind erosion from cleared areas along with naturally occurring desert wind events.
7. When the Mustache pozzolan quarry project comes to fruition, prevailing wind patterns will carry airborne crystalline silica particulates over Fernley schools and many of the residential areas of Fernley for the next twenty five years.
These are the facts. None of this information was derived from "reports put out by a branch of the Sierra Club." The sources for this information were:
1. Manhard Consulting LTD., Access Road Plan for Nevada Cement Co., Mustache Pozzolan Quarry Project, 2008
2. Environmental Impact Assessment, Silver Bells Pozzolan Mine Project, Lincoln County, NV, September 2004
3. Environmental Impact Assessment, Waykolo Pozzolan Mine Project, Ely, NV, September 2004
4. Western Pozzolan Corp., Raw Pozzolan Material Safety Data Sheet, Revised 2/02/2007
5. Material Safety Data Sheet for PORTLAND CEMENT, Nevada Cement Co. (http://www.nevadacement.com/MSDS.for.pdf
), Revised 1/05/2004
6. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, information circular "Crystalline Silica Primer", 1992
7. Report on Environmental Effects of Gravel Mining, Prepared By Special Investigations Division, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, December 12, 2002
8. New Mexico Case Study on the Environmental Impacts of Aggregate and Stone Mining, Prepared By the Center for Science in Public Participation, January 2004
9. Laboratory Report on Mustache Quarry Pozzolan Sample, University of Nevada, Reno, Bureau of Mines and Geology, May 6, 2009.
In addition to the documented health risks this project poses for our community, the mine will have the following negative impacts:
1. The pozzolan mine and access routes will be plainly visible from existing and proposed home sites in southwest Fernley. This heavy industrial activity in a residential area will become an eye-sore and a blight on the community. The presence of an active surface mine will drive down the property values of existing homes, will negate the sales potential of vacant homes in the area, and will diminish all capacity to develop these zoned residential areas in accordance with the city Master Plan. All of this will equate to lost revenue for Fernley for the next quarter century.
2. The quarry project is slated to operate ten hours per day. If the mine produces twenty truckloads of pozzolan per day as proposed, that equates to one truck trip every 15 minutes. Heavy tandem haul trucks will be driving through residential neighborhoods every fifteen minutes, every day, for the next 25 years. The traffic congestion, the noise and the dust this will produce will be an additional deterrent to residential development, growth and corresponding revenues.
3. If, five, ten, or fifteen years from now there is a spike in the incidence of respiratory illness, silicosis, or cancer, Fernley will be stigmatized. If Fernley becomes the focus of negative media attention like Fallon suffered from the leukemia cluster stories just a few years ago, this will equate to additional lost growth and consequential lost revenue.
The mission of the Fernley government is to provide our growing dynamic community excellent city services to make Fernley a great place to live, work and play, and to enhance the desirability, safety, friendliness, aesthetics and quality of life in our City. But clearly, every aspect of the Mustache Pozzolan Quarry Project runs counter to the Fernley Strategic Plan. The pozzolan mine will be bad for the city of Fernley, bad for our citizens and, frankly, it will be bad for Nevada Cement. But Curt Chaffin supports it. And, he's lying about his reasons for supporting it. That alone should be justification for recalling him from office.