EDA grant terminated.
On February 11, 2016 the Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) terminated a three million dollar grant to the City of Mount Shasta awarded to assist in improvement of the City wastewater treatment system. The EDA letter stated in part:
…. the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)… must be prepared and considered in connection with the amendment of EDA Award … for the upgrade of the Mount Shasta Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), and because of the length of time required for such a review, EDA has determined that the Award must be terminated….
Pursuant to CEQA, in November of 2015 the City issued its Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study (MNDIS) for all improvements at the WWTP. Significantly, although anticipating the need for increased capacity at the WWTP from the Crystal Geyser facility, the MNDIS did not address any of the effects of the facility on the environment. (See full EDA document HERE)
The grant documents stated that Crystal Geyser was a “primary beneficiary” of this grant and even EDA has now repeatedly stated that an environmental review is needed for this plant. The numerous voices from concerned citizens that have been calling for years for Crystal Geyser to pay for an environmental review of its operations, like any other developer, were ignored and now sadly this grant has been revoked. The loss of this grant was in large part due to the misguided “economic development” arguments put forward by those who have resisted an environmental review from the beginning, claiming it was unnecessary. A full environmental analysis of this Crystal Geyser project, paid for by Crystal Geyser, should have been the first step from the beginning, as legally required, not a process to avoid or a neglected afterthought.
There has been much discussion lately of the need to make Mount Shasta “business friendly” and the need for jobs and growth in our area. However, many times this is framed in opposition to having an environmental review of the operations of the proposed Crystal Geyser beverage plant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most, if not all, people and businesses locate here because of the clean air, pure water and the natural beauty of our area. An environmental review is one of the only ways to ensure that a proposed development does not ruin the very things that make it worth living, working or having a business here. An environmental review is not “anti-business”, it is good business planning. Only a full environmental analysis of the Crystal Geyser project will ensure healthy growth and prosperity in our area.
Groups like WA.T.E.R., the Gateway Neighborhood Association and other concerned citizens have been calling for an environmental review of Crystal Geyser because of concerns about the effects of industrial water extraction on our water supplies, the pollution and noise from the plant, the amount of truck traffic and many other effects of such a large operation in our area. Crystal Geyser claims it will have no such effects, but we have only their corporate word for this. How much noise and nighttime flood lighting of the plant will occur? We do not know. How much odor, fumes and pollution will be produced by plastic bottle manufacturing and beverage production? We do not know. What are the effects on local wells and the overall aquifer by the industrial extraction of large amounts of water (from two wells) by Crystal Geyser? We do not know. What are the affects of extreme drought combined with industrial water extraction? We do not know. Crystal Geyser has even recently successfully lobbied the regional water board to keep their well usage a proprietary secret, exempt from all reporting! What don’t they want us to know? An environmental review is the only way that we as a community can find out what the effects of this plant are and if there are serious environmental issues, it is the only way to have them mitigated or corrected.
Crystal Geyser has recently applied to connect to the City waste treatment system and this is an opportunity for the City to finally conduct an impartial environmental review of the entire plant operations. We are concerned that it has taken Crystal Geyser years to do this, when it should have been done before construction and installation of equipment began. We hope the City will take this opportunity to be pro-environment, this is NOT anti-business, but pro-Mount Shasta for all.