Q. But don’t we need gravel?
A. Riverside Contracting has 4 existing gravel pits nearby, and mover 3 dozen gravel pits in the State of Montana. There currently are over 1,600 permitted gravel pits in the state. There are alternatives that contractors and state and local governments can use to supply gravel and asphalt.
Q. Won’t the State step in to assure protections, and that the gravel pit/asphalt plant don’t negatively affect the environment?
A. The proposed asphalt plant and gravel pit are in a rural, residential area that will be negatively affected no matter the level of mitigations the State may demand. We’ve also seen documented evidence that gravel pits and asphalt plants don’t follow those mitigations, and that even if they do, they are not sufficient to protect air and water quality and other resources.
Q. I hear that [the CSKT Tribe; or Lake County; or the State; etc.] won’t let this project proceed. Why should I get involved when I hear that somehow it won’t happen?
A. We have no assurances from anybody that they are willing to take action or have decided to oppose Riverside Contracting’s permit. There are lots of unsubstantiated rumors floating around that x,y,or z will prevent this gravel pit and asphalt plant. In reality, if we don’t organize and present a united front against HB 599, the process the State DEQ is utilizing to potentially permit the operation, and our rights under the laws and Constitution of Montana, the permit will be authorized, and Riverside will begin operations.
Q. Where would the project be located, and who is proposing it?
- The Marvin Rehbein Pit (permit #3415) is located just over a mile North of Arlee in western Montana.
- Riverside Contracting, Inc. is proposing it on the Rehbein Ranch, on the east end of White Coyote Road.
Q. Who is overseeing this proposal?
- The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is the lead agency for the permitting process: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. What is being proposed?
- The permit would allow a million cubic yards of gravel to be mined, crushed and removed, and an asphalt plant.
Q. What is the scope of the operation?
- The permit is for 157 acres — almost a quarter section of land, 1/2 mile on a side. for a period of 20 years.
Q. How would the gravel and/or asphalt be transported?
- The operation could haul up to 80,000 gravel truck loads down White Coyote Road to get to US-93.
- White Coyote is a narrow, sub-standard Lake County road over a mile long that is not designed for heavy truck traffic.
- The road is a school bus route and is also used to move farm machinery. Bicyclists, pedestrians and horse traffic also use White Coyote Road. Shoulders are inadequate to safely accomodate existing uses and heavy truck traffic.
- The route abuts the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas, 1/2 mile west of the project site.The Garden will suffer from dust, noise, and traffic congestion. Ewam members and visitors’ ability to enjoy the Garden will be diminished.
Q. What sort of impacts are expected?
- The project would negatively affect the environmental, social and cultural values of the surrounding area.
- Surface and subsurface water would be adversely affected. A major aquifer underneath the site drains into the Jocko Riv- er, and Pellew Creek runs through the location.
- Adjoining wells could be polluted and dewatered and contamination from fuel spills could easily reach the Jocko River.
- There are many springs within a mile that may be impacted. Those springs feed the headwaters of Spring Creek and the Fish Hatchery, which is less than a mile away on the Jocko RIver.
Q. Who will be impacted?
This proposal, if permitted, will impact not just people who live nearby, but also native wildlife like deer, elk, bear, moun- tain lions, wolf, coyote, bald eagles, raptors, sandhill cranes, and many other migratory birds and animals.
- Fish and other aquatic life in the Jocko River and Spring Creek could be impacted if the pit’s water impoundments fail, or overland flooding were to breach the location.
- This proposal is a mile from Arlee Public Schools, and the students there will be impacted from air and noise pollution.
- The whole Jocko Valley will be impacted by air pollution, increased traffic congestion and safety issues.
- The JockoValley could be subject to increased industrial developement pressure if the Montana DEQ approves this permit. It is a foot-in-the-door to further industrial developments.
- Folks who live closest to the pit will suffer a taking of their property values and reduced health. Agriculture, rural life- styles and tribal culture will be harmed by pollution, noise and light.
Q. What about my rights?
- We all have the Constitutional Right in Montana to a clean and healthful environment.
- We have the Constitutional Right to meaningful participation, which has been impeded by the State.
- There are TribalTreaty Rights under the Hellgate Treaty of 1855.
Q. What can I do?
- You can help Friends of the Jocko by donating to our cause. We already are incurring extensive legal fees. •Visit our website to find information about this proposal and how to file comments against it.