Residents urge commissioners to oppose Painted Rock Mine

The painted rock that gives Painted Rock Mine its name.

The painted rock that gives Painted Rock Mine its name.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Johnson Lane residents opposed to the Painted Rock Mine urged county commissioners to prevent the project by any legal means.

Resident Jim Jackson said that the issue will wind up in court is a foregone conclusion.

“They’re going to approve this no matter what we say or what we do,” Jackson said. It’s up to the county to stop them at the county border. The minute it hits the county line you have jurisdiction.”

Jackson urged the county to close the roads into the Pine Nuts entirely.

County Manager Patrick Cates said he was just as frustrated as residents about the proposed mine, which is on Washoe Tribe allotment land administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Public comment on a draft environmental assessment is due by May 31.

“I’m a resident of Johnson Lane myself, and I’m not in favor of seeing an industrial operation going east of our Johnson Lane neighborhood,” Cates said. “Having said that, the county lacks the jurisdiction and tools to prevent this project from going forward.”

Commissioners approved contributing public comment that includes the county’s and residents’ concerns.

Residents suggested that the county could prohibit trucks from driving on Johnson Lane, including using tolls or weight limits.

County commissioners heard residents speak about the mine on Thursday morning during a debate on what public comment the county should submit to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

One resident suggested tying up the project in federal court until the proponents gave up.

Knox Excavating is seeking to lease 148.8 acres of Washoe Tribal allotment land to mine aggregate over the next 35 years.

A public comment period is open on the proposal through May 31.

The project has been in the works for two years and generated significant public outcry among residents of the north Carson Valley neighborhood with more than 600 comments after it came to light in August 2020.

The site is on land managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but requires access across Bureau of Land Management land, in addition to Johnson Lane.

According to the assessment, the project would produce 120 vehicle trips per day, including hauling water and the 5-20 workers projected for the site.

During peak production, the project would generate 30-85 truck trips a day, according to the assessment.


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