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Quarry would destroy critical ecosystem

Just outside of Gilroy, Sargent Ranch is home to critical plant and animal life. Yet the land was purchased in auction by an investor group located in San Diego. The group is bent on building an open sand and gravel mining pit, which would span more than 300 acres. The area would be turned into barren wasteland at a grave price. The mining would destroy hundreds of acres of native plant growth on which keystone species depend, taking out a critical chunk of our ecosystem. The small amount of nature left would be polluted by the mining process, which fills the air with harmful components. 

Sargent Ranch has another name: Juristac, and to the Native American tribe Amah Mutsun, the land is the sacred location of their spiritual deity Kuikski, or Big Head. To destroy it for sake of a quarry would break the hearts of the Amah Mutsun, who have already had too much stolen from them. Juristac is their place of renewal and healing, and to blow it up would leave a deep spiritual wound. The Amah Mutsun are still recovering from the trauma of colonization, and have lost much of their native lands to modern ways. Juristac and Kuikski are all they have left, do we really want to steal that, too? 

The quarry should not be allowed, and if the CEQA gives it permission to occur, it would be a betrayal of not only the Amah Mutsun, but of nature itself. Our air quality has been steadily decreasing, and if we allow mines like these to continue to destroy our precious world, it will only get worse. Air pollution is damaging to lungs of all types, and in these times, damaged lungs are the last thing we need. 

Regardless of who you are, or where you came from, we need clean air, and a stable ecosystem. 

Amelia V, 

Santa Cruz

Project threatens land, wildlife

I am an eighth-grade student at Gateway School in Santa Cruz. I’m writing to express my opposition to the proposed gravel pit project in our community. 

The project, which would not only destroy Amah Mutsun sacred land and displace threatened wildlife but would also disrupt our roads and water supply. This land is one of the last natural barriers separating Gilroy and Silicon Valley. 

If approved, the gravel mine will put hundreds of gravel trucks on the highway every day. These trucks will crowd our highways, kick up gravel and crack our car windshields. The gravel mine will use more than 160,000 gallons of water a day forcing additional water restrictions on our household use and farming. This project will make our whole area increasingly unlivable for threatened species and humans. 

The lead mining developer has hired an outside Silicon Valley lobby firm to help pass the gravel project. The only way to stop them is for us to speak out to our elected officials on the planning commission and board of supervisors. We need to act now to save our community. 

Cliff Chesnut,

Santa Cruz

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