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Here are some of the main issues we've identified that are reasons the permit should be denied. Follow the link for complete information.

1) EA is based on unrealistic, unenforceable claims.
2) San Pedro Rock has a documented history of violating restrictions.
3)BLM documents show a non-existent existing quarry .
4)Processing equipment is proposed to be moved to private land in direct violation of our County Ordinance/Community Plan.
5) Noise
6) Water Usage
7) Property values decreasing
8) Visual impact
9) Probable sellout to a major mining corporation
10) Public safety and traffic
11) Mineral resources... no benefit to the community
12) Reclamation problems
13) Soils
14) Impacts on sensitive species
15) Wildlife
16) Vegetation

1) Issue: Analysis is based on unrealistic, unenforceable claims.

EA Section 3.1.2
"Their frequency and intensity would be dependent on sales contracts that the mine would be servicing. However, no more than two to three trucks per day (max fifteen trucks per week) would be entering and exiting the mine during the life of the mine. This limitation would reduce the amount of truck traffic and fugitive dust in the area."

EA Section 3.3.2
"An estimated two to three haul trucks would be hauling product off site during mine operation hours (Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.), with a maximum of fifteen trucks per week hauling off site."

The analysis is based on 2-3 trucks per day. This is a figure from San Pedro Rock and It is not realistic. It would not be written into the permit or monitored and just an unsubstantiated assertion . It is an unbelievably low figure used to minimize the expected impacts of the operation on the neighborhood.

          • When they had a (supposedly) 5 acre operation, meaning 5 acres permitted for mining, processing, and stockpiling, they were running (according to the Environmental Assessment) 3-10 trucks per day. Residents have logged more than that on some days. Now they want 10 acres for mining with processing equipment elsewhere, and are cutting way back on production? The MRP states that historically, production was 35,520 tons/year. Projections for the expanded operation are 17,000 tons/year, but there is no requirement at all that they actually limit output to that.

          • By the very nature of the business, when there's a big contract, trucks are run as needed to fulfill that contract (and in the past, they have had some big contracts). We have seen this over and over. The trucking varies day to day (or week to week). A steady 2 or 3 trucks/day is unrealistic. One former resident that lived along the highway said there was a truck going past about every 10 minutes when SPR had a big contract on Kirtland AFB.

Conclusion: The 2-3 trucks/day figure underlies the whole analysis. The Environmental Assessment must be redone (with special attention to trucking noise) using a more realistic figure. The 'No Action' option is called for.

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2) Issue: History of gross violations of permit conditions and County Ordinance.

MRP and EA, numerous sections. Both documents are based on assertions by San Pedro Rock. These assertions are sometimes unrealistic (such as 2-3 trucks per day) and none are written in as conditions of the permit or enforceable.

Historically, San Pedro Rock has received numerous citations from the County for violations of their permit. There have been a number of court filings/cases, none of which have been decided in San Pedro Rock's favor. These violations and court cases include:

          • Injunction by the County for proceeding with mining without a permit.
          • Judge Sanchez imposed 25 conditions on the operation, including such things as operating hours, prohibition on running trucks on Heartbreak Hill when school buses are running, operation must be confined to the BLM-permitted 5 acres, etc.
          • Violations for running trucks on the Hill when school buses are present.
          • Trucks photographed during school bus hours One Two Three Four
          • Violation for removing material illegally from private land.
          • Violations for stockpiling on private land without a permit.
          • Violations for not removing stockpiles in the allotted time (SPNA agreed to a good-faith extension of the time from 30 days to 180).
          • Years after original violation, some stockpiles still existed.

Over time, San Pedro Rock has illustrated a serious contempt for permits and the conditions imposed on them. They have violated conditions of their permits repeatedly.

Conclusion: Since SPR has a documented track record of violating the rules, no credence whatsoever should be given their assertions as to the scope of the operation. The 'No Action' option is called for.

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3) Issue: Documents show existing 22-acre quarry, presumed to be legal, much on private land.

Project Summary, Page 1 Paragraph 5
"... existing San Pedro Mine, which is located primarily on private, patented claims..."

MRP Section 1.2.1.1
"San Pedro Rock Mine consists of an approximate 22-acre open pit on overlapping private (patented) and unpatented claims "

MRP Figure 1

The BLM documents (MRP and EA) show an "existing approximately 22-acre quarry". No such quarry exists. San Pedro Rock has County and BLM permits for 5 acres of BLM land, and possibly a County permit for a scalehouse, if that permit hasn't expired. The maps show the "existing quarry" on private land in San Lazarus Canyon, land which a judge has declared off-limits for a mining operation.

Conclusion: This paints a very inaccurate picture of the situation and is good reason to deny the permit, take the 'No Action' option.

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4) Issue: Equipment being moved to private land.

EA Section 2.1.1
"Sorting, crushing, and stockpiling of aggregate material would take place on private patented lands south of the PEA"

MRP Figure 2.1, 2.2, 2.3
Show equipment being moved to patented/private land.

Both BLM documents show the mining equipment (crushers, sorters, etc.) being moved to private land. Again, this is reason to deny the permit until the Plan is redone. Such equipment is in direct violation of County Ordinance 2002-2, which resulted from our Community Plan. Section 5.6 explicitly prohibits mining operations on private land. Indeed, the stockpiles on private land were judged in court to be illegal. Additionally, the Ordinance states in Section 5.7 that commercial uses must meet the requirements of a home business.

Conclusion: This process must be halted until this serious conflict between the Plan and the County ordinance is resolved. The 'No Action' option is called for.

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5) Issue: Noise

MRP 1.2.11 Noise Levels

Noise is one of the biggest issues. Our community's experience is that semi-trucks, especially loaded ones pulling up the valley, are very obtrusive. In writing our Community Plan (and taking surveys), peace and quiet were the main things people valued about San Pedro.

Past operations by SPR on the five-acre gravel mine resulted in loading over fifteen trucks/day or over thirty-truck trips/day. It's reasonable to expect the number of trucks and truck noise (90 decibels at 50 feet) to cause a major degredation of our quality of life.

During previous mining operations near the SPR PEA, noise levels associated with mining were heard across the San Pedro Valley almost two miles from the current PEA. This was recently confirmed with a former resident.

Santa Fe County Land Sustainable Land Development Code (2016) allows between 55 dBA or 5 dBA above ambient, whichever is less over a 30- minute period from the property line. Does a truck passing by every 14 minutes exceed Santa Fe County noise levels? How many residents of San Pedro live in the area along NM Hwy 344 impacted at 90 dBA? How many at 80 dBA? The information contained in the SPR EA is inadequate to address these basic questions and does not address the impact of mining operations noise at the PEA or haul truck noise on the residents of San Pedro.

Additionally, County Ordinance 2002-2, Section 5.9.8 says that "noise levels shall not exceed general neighborhood noise levels or interfere with residential peace and quiet".

Conclusion: San Pedro is now a residential neighborhood with about 130 residences. Industrial truck traffic is inherently incompatible with a quiet neighborhood. The 'No Action' option is called for.

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6) Issue: Water Usage

MRP 1.3.3.13 Water Use

Water use is another issue which is talked about but not in any way limited or regulated. The MRP uses words like "does not plan", "likely be limited", "may use it", "if SPR decides". An operation such as this should not be locked in for 20 years without specific requirements, reporting (available to the public), metering, and positive control of water usage. Water is quite scarce in some parts of the valley, and a precious commodity. The residents must be assured that the operation would not have a deleterious effect on their water supply.

Conclusion: Water usage should be metered, regulated, monitored, and the usage data should be available to the public. Until the Plan addresses this, the 'No Action' option is called for.

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7) Issue: Property Values

Document and section: (None specific)

The negative impacts of property values of a quarry operation in a community are clear and irrefutable.

Couple the property value loss as a result of the proposed gravel mine with an additional 3.7% property value decrease because of proximity to a nearby shooting range. In this case the “recreational shooting area” on BLM land 1.7 miles from the proposed sand and gravel pit.

Community residents including retired homeowners in San Pedro who live on a fixed income may have little else besides their property. According to our 2015 Community Plan Update, the median age of residents is 52 and number of residents is 184; we have many retirees in this group. The devaluation of that property would be long-term and be devastating for these individuals and for the rest of the community.

Conclusion: The No Action option is called for.

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8) Issue: Visual Impact

EA, Section 3.1 Visual Resources

It has been stated in the EA and the MRP that there will be visual impacts to residents of San Pedro during mining operations. Visual impacts to the residents of San Pedro (SP) have been minimalized due to the location of the mine. However, visual impacts will be especially impactful on SP residents when haul trucks are traveling on Oro Quay Road and creating clouds of fugitive dust. The dust generated by the estimated 1-3 haul trucks traveling each weekday between 7:00 AM and 3:00 PM will be visible to a majority of the 150 households in San Pedro. The number of trips by haul trucks on Oro Quay Road will be 30 trips/week (to and from the mine). This will result in a significant visual impact to the residents of SP and be especially detrimental if/when the number of haul trucks per day increases. The MRP and EA use the estimate provided by SPR of one to three trucks/day. However, the number of haul trucks per day could easily increase, it is only an estimation. At one time when SPR was operating from it’s five-acre gravel operation, SPR was filling over fifteen, twenty ton haul trucks/day or one hundred fifty trips through SP/weekly.

One haul truck traveling on Oro Quay Road generates fugitive dust and has a visual impact. One hundred fifty haul truck trips per week and the fugitive dust generated will have significant visual impacts and possibly effect air quality of the entire SP valley as well.

A baseline for impacts to the SP Viewshed created by potential fugitive dust needs to be established. The visual impact of thirty or more haul truck trips per week can then be modeled and documented. Only after a proper baseline and modeling for visual impacts is completed, can an accurate EA be evaluated.

Conclusion: Based on the absence of baseline information, no meaningful limits on production and number of haul trucks, the only logical choice for the Visual Resources issue is No Action.

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9) Issue: Probable change of ownership of the operation in the next 20 years

Document and section: (None specific)

Given the nature of the mining business, in the next 20 years it is not only possible, but rather likely, that the operation will change hands and may end up with somebody/some corporation with much bigger plans than San Pedro Rock.

For example, the original Notice Filing was by John Betonte, then Eddie Mauzy had it, then Paul Parker. In the submittals to BLM re: ownership, there were 6 individuals and 6 corporations/companies involved. Prior to that, there was a church foundation in Oregon involved, trying to mine on their private land in connection with Eddie Mauzy.

Speculation is that the 2-3 trucks/day (claimed) low-balled, unrealistic, proposed operation is just a foot in the door for a 20-year, locked-in permit which would have no limitation on production or the number of trucks.

Conclusion: Locking in the permit for 20 years is unacceptable. If it were issued for a year or two, that would provide an opportunity for a reevaluation of the company's behavior and compliance (or noncompliance) with the conditions of the permit. The 'No Action' option is called for.

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10) Issue: Public Safety & Traffic

EA, Section 3.3 Public Safety - Traffic

The MRP and EA acknowledge that truck and vehicle traffic from workers in the vicinity of the PEA will increase with implementation of the Proposed Action. The “estimated” two to three haul trucks traveling through the SP Community would result in an “estimated” maximum of thirty truck trips per week. This increase in haul truck traffic will result in increased chances for accidents along State Road 344 and Oro Quay Road. The MRP and EA use the “estimate” provided by SPR of one to three trucks/day. However, the number of haul trucks per day is subjective and could easily increase, it is only an estimation. In the past, when SPR was operating from it’s five-acre gravel operation, SPR was filling over fifteen, twenty-ton haul trucks/day, equating to more than one hundred fifty trips through SP/weekly.

Before the SPR MRP is approved, a professional traffic safety study needs to be developed that identifies the impact of up to one hundred fifty haul trucks moving through the San Pedro community. The study needs to be objective and the traffic safety of the San Pedro community needs to be quantified through modeling of expected and potential haul truck traffic safety impacts on Oro Quay Road, NM Hwy 344 and NM Hwy 14.

Additionally, under the previous County permit, trucks were not allowed to run on Heartbreak Hill at the same time school buses were running (see the issue about violations for details). The claimed operating hours are 7 to 3, which is during "school bus hours" morning and afternoon. This conflict must be resolved.

Conclusion: Based on the absence of baseline information, no meaningful limits on production and number of haul trucks, and the conflict with school bus hours, the only logical choice for the Public Safety - Traffic issue is No Action.

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11) Issue: Mineral Resources

EA Section 3.9 Mineral Resources

SPR claims that they have provided a local source of minerals for construction, landscaping, and road and highway projects since 2005. SPR also claims that they are a valued component of the East Mountain area businesses and contribute to the overall economic well-being of Santa Fe and Bernalillo Counties. SPR has stated they will operate with 3 employees, not much economic well being there! In the past the employees at SPR were not residents of San Pedro and the only economic impact from SPR to the community of San Pedro has been a potential reduction in property values. Other contributions by SPR include fugitive dust, unsafe haul truck traffic and the San Pedro Hum (actually more of an obnoxious mechanical grinding) heard at many SP residences.

SPR does not mention that they have a documented history of trespass on Public Lands, theft of mineral materials from the public domain, repeated violations of Santa Fe County restrictions, illegal blockage of public access to Public Lands and disregard of BLM stockpiling/equipment re-location requests.

The mining and reclamation plan (MRP) submitted by SPR is rich with subjective guesses on environmental impacts and purposeful underestimates of daily production. In addition, the MRP contains very little information that is backed up with scientific evidence and no baseline studies on which to base future impacts.

Conclusion: Based on the absence of baseline information, no meaningful limits on production and number of haul trucks, the only logical choice for the Mineral Resources issue is No Action.

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12) Issue: Reclamation

MRP, Section 2.0

Throughout the Reclamation and Revegetation section there are numerous references as what "will" be done as far as recontouring, replacing topsoil, seeding, mulching, etc.

But when it comes to any enforcement, there's nothing concrete. Even in a discussion of bonding, words like "typically" and "may amount to" are relied on. In many cases, once a corporation is done mining, they close up shop and leave. Losing your bond is often much cheaper and easier than reclamation. In this case, there is not even any bond figure given.

Additionally, the MRP states "Steep slopes and lack of top soils will make reclamation success challenging for the PEA." So how is BLM/SPR going to insure that decent reclamation is done many years from now?

Conclusion: Based on the lack of such information in the MRP, the No Action alternative is the only one reasonable.

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13) Issue: Soils

EA Section 3.5 Soils

The EA states soil resources in the project are limited, fragile and classified as high run off. They would be further affected during operations.

Microbes, molds, fungi, mycelium, insects, root systems and life forms too numerous to count, create the layered complexity of the overall soil ecosystem. Even though it is a self-sustaining system, when disrupted, unpredictable consequences result.

Cryptobiotic soils, lichens and mosses protect the soil form erosion and allow grasses to take root, however this fragile soil is damaged by even a footfall. This soil is found throughout this area at all elevations.

The soil analysis of the PEA makes no mention of these essential components, ignoring their role in reclamation. Seeding and mulching, berming and contouring, without the attention to soil enhancement as well as additional watering, will not result in soil restoration.

Conclusion: The EA needs to include a plan to study the undisturbed soils of San Lazarus Canyon and mimic its composition as an on-going component of reclamation. The reclamation bond needs to reflect this as well as include 20 year estimated inflation rates. Each acre of reclaimed area needs to be inspected and monitored by BLM, however the preferred action is to implement Alternative B-No Action.

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14) Issue: Impacts to Sensitive Species

EA Section 3.6.2 Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species

Surveys between December 2014 - April 2018 determined the PEA has suitable habitat for 2 State listed, 5 BLM sensitive, 5 Special Status and 3 Special Watch species. These species are bats, birds and the monarch butterfly. Impacts to these species are unavoidable, temporary but ongoing during the life of the mine. Reclamation of the area after 20 years may "possibly" improve habitat and seeding of trees and wildlife seeding mix plantings might over time encourage better conditions than what already exist.

Conclusion: Reclamation will never restore the habitat to sustain the diversity and quality of life that currently exits. The only way to maintain an environment that ensures protection of not only threatened, endangered and sensitive species but also all species is to NOT permit expanded mining in the canyon. The “No Action” option is called for.

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15) Issue: Wildlife

EA Section 3.7 Wildlife

The PEA area was studied originally in 2014 with occasional field visits until 2018. The San Pedro Mountains are important corridor habitat between the Sandia and Manzano Mountains for mountain lions, black bears, gray foxes, bobcats, mule deer, rabbits and squirrels. It is noted also as breeding, resident and wintering habitat for migratory birds as well as being part of the Rocky Mountain Flyway raptor migration corridor. 19 migratory birds and some nesting sites and 9 species of mammals were observed. Reptiles and insect populations were disregarded other than the monarch butterfly. The EA admits that the PEA will “significantly change” the abundance, distribution and diversity of all the wildlife and may not be restored for “many years”. Many animals will become “deceased “ due to heavy equipment.

Conclusion: The only recommendation in the Wildlife study was to “avoid construction, disturbance and vegetation removal associated with mining during the bird nesting period between April 1-September 30.” Given SPR’S historical disregard to follow most rulings, it can be assumed that this recommendation will not be followed. Reclamation is the action that will “possibly” restore and improve the numbers of mammals, birds, and bats. The “No Action “ option is called for.

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16) Issue: Vegetation

EA Section 3.8

A pedestrian survey conducted in December 2014 determined the PEA contained no threatened, endangered or special status botanical species. However 3 tree, 13 shrub and sub shrub, 5 cacti, 13 grasses and 3 forbs species were counted. The EA states "a substantial loss of forested area" would occur, grasses might reestablish, but "re-growth of a mature forest would take decades" depending on climatic factors and precipitation. This area in particular has not suffered from bark beetle devastation.

Conclusion: The 20-year PEA will change the San Lazarus forested canyon for generations. A minimal reclamation plan along with on-going drought will not regenerate the healthy pinon, juniper, and ponderosa forest. The current vegetation is the foundation for all life in the canyon. What is not currently listed as endangered may be listed by the time the 20 year permit is finished. Therefore a “No Action” plan is advised.