Yuba mine gets first OK
Yuba County officials on Wednesday asked county supervisors to approve a massive Hallwood mining expansion that an environmental analysis concluded will result in the permanent loss of nearly 200 acres of farmland.
The county Planning Commission OK'd the analysis, which outlines potential environmental impacts, but supervisors have the final say on whether Chico-based Baldwin Contracting Co. Inc. can move forward with its proposed expansion.
Baldwin wants to expand its mining operation in Hallwood to an adjacent, 200-acre peach orchard. The company plans to extract as much as 1.5 million tons of sand and gravel for the next 22 to 44 years.
The proposed site is about seven miles east of Marysville, south of Highway 20, east of Hallwood Boulevard and north of Hooper Road.
Decades after mining stops, Baldwin plans to convert the land into two marshy lakes.
To move forward with the expansion, county supervisors must rezone the site and amend its local growth plan to accommodate the project.
The county also can't issue a mining permit until the state approves Baldwin's reclamation plan, which describes how the site will be turned into the bodies of water.
The commission voted 3-0 to send the project to the supervisors. Commissioner Jon Messick disqualified himself because he owns farmland near the proposed site and said he has other indirect ties to Baldwin. Commissioner Margaret Winchel was absent.
Only one person - an attorney for Baldwin - spoke during a public hearing on the matter, despite well over a dozen people attending the vote.
The project has been about 21/2 years in the making; Baldwin submitted its expansion application to the county in October 2003.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Thigpen can be reached at 749-4713. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.