The long awaited draft Environmental Impact Report has been released, beginning a 60-day public comment period, according to Victoria Penate at The Union. She outlines what this report entails and provides details on a special public comment meeting on February 23 as well as how to submit comments by the March 4 deadline. She also summarizes Rise Grass Valley's response to the report with various claims about how impacts will be mitigated.
After months of waiting, it’s finally here.
Nevada County staff this week released a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Idaho-Maryland Mine project, stating in a news release that public agencies and the public will be able to give comments on the EIR’s adequacy at a special public meeting before the Nevada County Planning Commission on Feb. 23.
The county has published the draft EIR on its website. According to the release, printed copies of the document are also available for public review at a handful of locations.
Nevada County senior planner Matt Kelley said last year that projects of any scale require some form of environmental review by law, and that the Idaho-Maryland Mine project required an EIR “because one or more impacts would be considered potentially significant, so therefore CEQA would be (enacted).”
A section of CEQA, or the California Environmental Quality Act, charges public agencies “with the duty to avoid or minimize environmental damage where feasible,” according to the draft EIR.
“The basic requirements for an EIR include discussions of the environmental setting, environmental impacts, mitigation measures, alternatives, growth-inducing impacts, and cumulative impacts,” the document states.
The draft EIR was prepared by Sacramento-based firm Raney Planning and Management, and states that its purpose is to be “circulated for public and agency review and comment,” followed by the county’s preparation of a final EIR, which will include responses to these comments. County officials must certify the final EIR prior to making project approval decisions, the document states.
According to the document, after a notice of preparation was circulated from July 17 to Aug. 17, 2020, comment letters were received from over 750 interested parties, including “representatives of public agencies and groups, as well as individual members of the general public,” during that review period. The draft EIR summarizes the concerns brought up in these comment letters — which ranged within 13 areas, including aesthetics; agriculture, forestry, and other resources; air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy; hazards and hazardous materials; and transportation — and subsequently includes a chapter addressing each environmental issue area.
Once it became available, the draft EIR began a 60-day public comment period to end March 4,  according to the county’s news release.
Public comments must be received in writing by the county no later than 5 p.m. March 4, the release states, whether in hard copy or by email. These can be mailed to Kelley, or emailed to Idaho.MMEIR@co.nevada.ca.us.
The special meeting before the Nevada County Planning Commission on Feb. 23 to receive comments from public agencies and the public on the adequacy of the draft EIR will begin at 9:30 a.m. and take place in the county’s Board of Supervisors chambers at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City, according to the release.
Read the rest (Rise Grass Valley Responds) in The Union
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org