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pollutes our air

failing grade

Grass Valley gets an “F” for air quality today. The mine will make it worse with escaped dust from continuous rock crushing, loading, hauling, unloading, spreading, and compacting. With chronic lung disease deaths already at twice the state average, we can't afford any more.  


Air quality is one of our big concerns. The fact of the matter is that our community is already in a seriously compromised position. There's a long list of poor ratings we could cite, but the 2022 “State of the Air Report” from the American Lung Association, says it all. They gave Nevada County an “F” for our air quality, and that counted for both high ozone days and particle pollution.

The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describes a number of "mitigations" to reduce the impact and declares that the impact will be less than significant, but there are two problems with that:

  1. Experts working with CEA Foundation determined there are significant errors and omissions in the analysis. Diesel exhaust calculations are understated, and there are major unresolved issues with airborne asbestos and other pollutants.

    For instance, the Final EIR's plan for managing concentration levels of asbestos in mine waste is inadequate. Test data is too sparse and they haven't demonstrated they can feasibly stay below the required limits. Read more in this review written before the final decision: The County Should Deny the Mine (look for point #5).

  2. Complying with regulatory thresholds doesn't mean zero impact. Even if "mitigations" meet the stated goals, our community will experience negative health impacts from the air pollution if this mine is approved.


Here are some talking points that can help.

  • We already have very unhealthy air quality. We can't afford to make it worse.

  • Mining operations call for continuous truck trips. Transportation is the largest producer of carbon emissions in California.

  • Despite efforts to mitigate, there will be escaped fumes from blasting and processing.

  • Fugitive dust will escape from rock crushing, loading, and unloading as they create mountains of engineered fill. 

  • Nevada County's death rate from chronic lung disease is already twice the state average.

  • The test data in the Final EIR to determine potential asbestos impacts is inadequate for CEQA compliance (California Environmental Quality Act). 

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