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December 7, 2022

Letter: Quarry is too damaging to justify approval

I am a longtime supporter of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and I don’t support an open-pit sand and gravel mine that would destroy the landscape which is a critical wildlife linkage and the most sacred site of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. The following are my comments sent regarding this project. The public comment period ends Sept. 26 and should be sent to [email protected].

Please do not approve the Sargent Ranch Quarry (5,154-acres located within an unincorporated area of southern Santa Clara County, just south of Gilroy) on the critical wildlife corridor and sacred Indigenous landscape of Juristac. This open-pit sand and gravel mine would permanently destroy the landscape, literally scooping out the hillsides for three open quarry pits hundreds of feet deep.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report found 14 separate significant and unavoidable impacts from the mine, including to Sargent Quarry Project tribal cultural resources, wildlife movement, air quality and aesthetics. These significant and unavoidable impacts will occur even with attempts at mitigation. I do not believe this project can adequately mitigate the significant and unavoidable impacts related to six categories in the EIR; aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural and tribal cultural resources, geology, soils and paleontology, and transportation. 

In particular, the DEIR found that there would be “permanent and irreversible alterations” to the Juristac Tribal Cultural Landscape, and that no reclamation activities could ever restore it to a condition that reflects its cultural significance. The DEIR also found that the mine, due to its location directly across a major wildlife corridor in and out of the Santa Cruz Mountains, would interfere substantially with wildlife movement, which could reduce genetic variability and make animal populations more vulnerable to local extinction. 

The Sargent Ranch Quarry’s destructive impact is far too great to justify approving this project. Please protect the critical wildlife corridor and sacred Indigenous landscape of Juristac and deny the Sargent Ranch Quarry.

Zach Hilton

Gilroy City Councilmember

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