Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between the original project and the Alternative 4 Ridgeline Preservation Project?
  2. Where is Jesse Morrow Mountain?
  3. What is all the fuss about mining Jesse Morrow Mountain?
  4. How visible would the mine be?
  5. Isn't it ecologically better to create gravel here than to bring it from a distant place?
  6. We need gravel to pave roads and concrete to build houses. Where is the material going to come from if not from Jesse Morrow Mountain?
  7. Don't we need a lot of aggregate for the high speed rail project if it's approved?
  8. Will there be an asphalt plant at the site as well as concrete?
  9. Will they be recycling water at the site?
  10. Aren't Friant Kern and Alta Canals at the base of Jesse Morrow Mountain?
  11. Who is Cemex and what is their reputation?
  12. How is Jesse Morrow Mountain important to the local Native American people?
  13. Who are the 'Friends of Jesse Morrow Mountain'?
  14. What stage is the mining proposal in terms of planning and approval?
  15. What can you do?
  1. What is the difference between the original project and the Alternative 4 Ridgeline Preservation Project?

    The Alternative 4 Project will start just below the ridge at 1,000 foot elevation but will go 200 feet below ground level, leaving a large crater 200 feet deep back into the mountain at its base. The end slopes will be steeper, less stable and have significantly poorer esthetics that may only be able to be revegetated on the remaining bench tops. The project will be mining 1.5 million tons per year rather than 2 mil tons per year. The project will be for 50 years rather than 100 years but once the mine is there it is easier to get extensions for addition years. (FEIR vol 2 & Table 5.0-3 reduced alt 4)

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  3. Where is Jesse Morrow Mountain?

    Jesse Morrow Mountain is in Southeast Fresno County and can be seen from Hwy 99. It lies along the Blossom Trail north of and adjacent to the scenic King's Canyon Highway. It is the first mountain you encounter as you leave the valley on your way up to the Sierras and King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Its majestic slopes, dotted with wildflowers in spring or golden grasses in summer and range cattle year round have been an inspiring sight for as long as human eyes have fallen on it.

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  5. What is all the fuss about mining Jesse Morrow Mountain?

    Lots of reasons!

    1. 50 years, for starters. The mining project would last 50 years but would likely be extended continuously until all the gravel is gone (the whole mtn. is nearly all gravel).
      This mountain is a thing of rare beauty in an area whose natural assets are not well known. If this mine goes into operation, portions of Jesse Morrow Mountain will be blasted and crushed into gravel. "The project will operate approximately 315 days per year with occasional nighttime operations to provide material for public construction projects, such as…Caltrans or emergency situations." The mined portion of the mountain will be lowered 400 feet in the initial phases, 1200 feet on the south face by projects end, extending 200 feet below ground surface level and light from the operation will light the skies all night long for 50 years. (VOL2, PROJECT DISCRIPTION 2.0)

    2. The company that proposes to mine this mountain is Cemex, a giant multinational corporation based in Mexico, which does business in more than 50 countries worldwide and which has no interest in Fresno County except as a source of gravel. Cemex already has a very long list of air and water quality violations in this country and others. A nation-wide alliance has formed in the US to halt the opening of new Cemex operations and the expansion of existing Cemex operations as a result of the company's record. Cemex has a reputation for paying fines rather than complying with local air and water quality standards.

    3. Air pollution. Fresno County lags behind federally mandated clean-up deadlines by 11 years and is applying for an extension based on the fact that problems with air quality in this area are so extreme. Area children already suffer asthma at roughly twice the national average. Even a very conscientious gravel mining operation, and we do not think that includes Cemex, adds chemicals and particulates to the air. Gravel trucks taking materials to and from the mine will also contribute to fouling the air. Fresno air quality needs to get better – not worse.

    4. Water use & possible pollution. Mining 200 ft below ground level increases chance of running into ground water or contamination related to mobile equipment within the Quarry floor."

      Farming, the lifeblood of Fresno County is already suffering from lack of water. The San Joaquin Valley aquifers have been declining for decades and new surface water sources have not come in to replace the groundwater that's been lost. The Cemex mine proposes to pump 150,000 gallons per day. Two other gravel mining operations already operating within 3 1/2 miles of the proposed Cemex mine (Vulcan and Central Valley) have expanded their operations. They will be pumping ground water as well. A fourth mine (Calaveras CMI), also planning to pump groundwater, is proposed to open within 3 1/2 miles of Cemex. The cumulative impact of all this pumping on the aquifer is unknown, but clearly headed in the wrong direction.

    5. Truck Traffic. The Final Environmental Impact Report states that the traffic increases will be significant and unavoidable, exceeding the safety limits set by the county and Cal Trans for roadways and highways (FEIR s-6, s-7) The Cemex operation estimates that it will add approximately 900 round truck trips per day beginning on Kings Canyon Highway (Hwy 180) and then spreading out onto other roads (FEIR 3.11-29, 11-30). Each of the other local mining operations will put gravel trucks on the road as well. Together, the number of daily gravel truck trips is expected to be in the thousands. These trucks will be on the same roads as school busses, commuters and tourists on their way to the parks. It is easy to anticipate more accidents of a serious nature. At the very least, rocks and gravel kicked up from the roadway by these trucks can be expected to be hitting windshields at higher levels than present. Contact the Fresno County Planning Commission for details of the traffic plans for these mines.

    6. Safety. Slow moving gravel trucks will be entering the road where cars and busses generally travel 60 miles an hour.

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  7. How visible would the mine be ?

    Representative of Cemex are claiming that it "will hardly be noticeable". How can anyone believe that you will "hardly notice" a giant bench mining operation starting at 1,000 foot elevation and working down the face with a large asphalt and concrete plant at the bottom and nearly 900 trucks going in and out as well as large dump trucks traveling up and down the face of the mountain and a large conveyer belt traversing the mountain top to bottom, as well as a rock crusher on the top of the working bench that we will "hardly see or hear". Everything is supposed to be nicely concealed behind an earthen berm.

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  9. Isn't it ecologically better to create the gravel here than truck it in from a distant place?

    Significant and unavoidable pollution from this mine would occur right here in Fresno County. Cemex is not restricted to selling product just in the immediate area. They could ship it anywhere out of the area to anyone that is willing to pay their price.

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  11. We need gravel to pave roads and concrete to build houses. Where is the material going to come from if not from Jesse Morrow Mountain?

    There is a new railroad distribution center in Selma that can handle 100 rail cars per day, each hauling 100 tons of aggregate, which will be able to supply the needed gravel if the existing mines can't.
    Within 3 1/2 miles of Jesse Morrow Mountain, there are two (2) existing mines that have recently expanded and another proposed to begin operation. This is in addition to mines in other portions of Fresno County and neighboring counties. Current estimates show there is enough supply to last at least 30 years without the new rail distribution center, which can supply the rest.

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  13. Don't we need aggregate for the high speed rail project if it's approved?



    The proposed site for the high speed rail is west of hwy 99. South of Fresno it would be available from Coalinga. North of Fresno it would be available from Madera and Merced. If Fresno is awarded the railway maintenance station, the existing local mines can already provide any aggregate needed and if not the rail distribution center can supply the rest, all of which are closer to the site.

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  15. Will there be an asphalt plant at the sight as well as concrete?

    Yes. It will be an asphalt production and recycling plant that will add significantly to odor, noise and pollution. It will also have two 20,000 gal above ground storage tanks of oil for asphalt production which add to the chance of toxic spills.

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  17. Will they be recycling water at the site?

    Cemex proposes to have a 25,000 gal catch basin to dump water into that's used for washing aggregate, water that that doesn't evaporate will be reused. This may sound good but actually creates a toxic solution of all contaminates found naturally in the mountain like lead, arsenic,chromium, etc., as well as created from blasting and mining. This toxic solution continues to become more concentrated each time it is reused and these contaminates leach into the ground and potentially travel to the canals below next to Hwy 180. Also a very wet season could overflow the pond and the run off could flow down into the canals.

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  19. Aren't Friant Kern and Alta Canals at the base of Jesse Morrow Mountain?

    Both of these canals run near the base of the mountain and are in danger of being polluted directly by fugitive dust and contaminates in the air as well as contaminated run- off from the mine and plant site.

    Also mining 200 feet below ground level increases risk of contamination of the ground water and the canals.

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  21. Who is Cemex and what is their reputation?

    Cemex is a giant Mexico based producer of cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and related building materials operating in more than 50 countries. One of the largest supplier in the US with 57 quarries operating here as of 12/31/2005. They have been cited for air and water quality violations in this country numerous times. A June 13, 2010 internet search of "Cemex violations" netted over 139,000 related websites in .29sec. The lawsuits range from environmental and air quality to violations of Fair Labor Standards Act. With billions of dollars in financial assets, Cemex is able to pay fines for violations and, once established, withstand challenges to its operations.

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  23. How is Jesse Morrow Mountain important to the local Native American people?

    The Choinumni, a band of Native Americans whose cultural heritage and burial grounds are on this mountain call it Wahalich. This mountain is sacred to them, but because they are not a registered tribe and have not been able to file the necessary paperwork to declare this mountain a sacred historical site, their claims have been ignored.

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  25. Who are the 'Friends of Jesse Morrow Mountain'?

    We are a group of concerned citizens from all over the greater Fresno area who oppose mining this mountain. Please see our mission statement. We further recognize that the air quality in Fresno County is among the poorest in the nation and suggest that it would be unconscionable to invite known polluters to do business here.

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  27. What stage is this mining proposal in terms of planning and approval?

    The FEIR (Final Environmental Impact Report) is available now for public review. The Planning Commission will evaluate the FEIR and at their meeting (on a date in March to be determined) vote to approve or deny the project. That decision can then be appealed to the Board of Supervisors by either side. The Board will vote to approve or deny the project. Once that decision is made it can be challenged in court.

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  29. WHAT YOU CAN DO?
    1. Let your Fresno County Supervisors know that you do not want them to vote to allow Jesse Morrow Mountain to be mined. Let them know that you will use your voting power to remove them if they do. You can do this by letter, email, or personal meeting.

    2. Show up at the Planning Commission Meeting on Feb 9, 2012 and at the Board of Supervisors Meeting when it is held. (Check the events section for meeting times and places)

    3. Tell your friends and neighbors about the proposal to mine Jesse Morrow Mountain and to come to the meetings.

    4. Let us know if you want to get involved or make a contribution.

    5. Call or write your supervisors at the addresses and telephone numbers listed below.
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