A Crystal Geyser EIR is announced (again).
On March 23, 2016, the Mt. Shasta Herald broke the story of Siskiyou County’s announcement to finally conduct an Environmental Impact Report on the entirety of the Crystal Geyser bottling plant operations. A letter from Greg Plucker, Siskiyou County Community Development Director, to Richard Weklych of Crystal Geyser stated in part:
"Upon review of the project, County staff believes that there are unique and unusual circumstances with respect to the project. ... While the project does require discretionary permits from other agencies, these other agencies only have permitting responsibilities for certain limited aspects of the entire bottling facility. This permitting arrangement has led to considerable concern voiced by the community over the potential of unaddressed environmental impacts. To address these concerns, I believe that it is in our mutual interest that an environmental impact report (EIR) be prepared in conjunction with the submitted use permit application.
In preparing the EIR, the County will be acting as the lead agency and any other permitting agency would be a responsible agency pursuant to the provisions of CEQA. Under this scenario, any responsible agency could then rely on the County’s comprehensive environmental document as part of their discretionary project review." (see full document HERE)
We have heard “announcements” of EIRs before and have been sadly disappointed, but hopefully we will now finally have a way forward to a full and comprehensive EIR. This new announcement of an EIR by the County was made possible only by the determined and energetic outpouring of the entire community that has been calling for an EIR for over two and a half years! What this also shows is that Crystal Geyser has NEVER presented the County, the City of Mount Shasta or the citizens of the area with a complete project description of the plant. No one could ever be sure of what really was planned for this site. Over time we learned that large propane and chemical tanks were installed, large and noisy cooling towers were put up, propane boiler systems were installed, a sewage treatment building has been proposed, three large gas fired electrical generators have been requested and a second well will be used to extract even more water for bottle processing. Now a security building has been added to mix. According to the Mt, Shasta Herald, the County “informed Crystal Geyser that a conditional use permit application to install a caretaker’s/security residence at its Mt. Shasta facility is a discretionary project and is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act.”
We are grateful to the County that it has finally recognized the need for an EIR, paid for by Crystal Geyser, and look forward to helping make sure that all environmental issues around this plant are fully addressed.