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Opponents of Roblar Road Quarry Celebrate Victory

Judge rules the environmental impact report for the 70-acre quarry in northwest Petaluma is incomplete, creating a major roadblock for the project

A Sonoma County judge has ruled that a crucial environmental document assessing water, soil and other impacts of the Roblar Road quarry in northwest Petaluma was incomplete, a decision project opponents are calling a major victory.

“It’s huge, we’re just ecstatic about it,” said Donna Spilman, a member of Citizens Advocating Roblar Rural Quality, or CARRQ, a group formed to oppose building the quarry next to an old landfill which is not lined or capped and which opponents say could leak once blasting starts.

“This is a culmination of many years of work on behalf of people who feel that this project, located in such an environmentally sensitive area, was inappropriate placed,” Spilman said.

It was not immediately clear whether John Barella, the former president of North Bay Construction who is spearheading the project, would appeal the decision. A call to Barella's attorney Arthur Coon was not immediately returned.

Residents filed a lawsuit against both the county and Barella in winter 2011, just months after the project was approved by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

In the ruling, released Thursday, Judge Elliot Daum said that the EIR did not adequately study the impact of the landfill, which closed in the ‘70s, on groundwater contamination, and said that the blasting could potentially move contaminated water to the quarry site.

Daum also said that the document did not consider the full environmental impacts of the project on the mitigation preserve, complicated land deal that allocated 105 acres of farmland to create a habitat for a rare breed of frogs, and did not consider impacts on nearby Americano creek.

“The groundwater contamination from when you start blasting has been our concern for years,” Spilman said. “So this is definitely a vindication for our efforts.”

Are you concerned about the environmental impacts of Roblar Road quarry? And does the county need another quarry? Sound off in the comments below.

David Keller August 03, 2012 at 09:41 PM
This is an excellent ruling. I hope that County Counsel and the Board of Supervisors (as well as various city attorneys and councils) will take note of what is actually required to be revealed and addressed in EIRs. CEQA is a very real and important part of our land use decisions, and may not be sloughed off for convenience. Congratulations to the neighbors of the quarry site who worked so hard to protect their land, homes and livelihoods over the years.
Darris August 04, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Good to hear that and EIR report actually matters and is taken seriously. Possibly because it was Judge Daum who ruled on this case. I appreciate that Judge Daum took the time necessary to consider the impact of this proposal. We need rock for our roads but not at the expense of destroying habitat and ground water. I too hope that the County and Bd. of Supervisors take heed of this case.

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