County establishes Painted Rock Mine answers site
In order to provide more information to Douglas residents about the proposed Painted Rock gravel mine above Johnson Lane, the county has posted a frequently asked questions site regarding the operation.
The site is located at https://www.douglascountynv.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=12493103&pageId=17101711
The comment period on the mine, which is on Washoe Tribe Trust Lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, expired in September.
Douglas County commissioners discussed the mine twice in September and submitted comments to the Bureau.
Under federal law the BIA must review the project for significant environmental impacts prior to permitting.
County officials said the BIA did not consult with Douglas County in developing their environmental assessment. County staff learned of the project shortly before the assessment was released for public comment. It was brought to commissioners in order to raise public awareness and to provide public comment.
“We continue to receive a lot of public comment in regards to the Painted Rock Mine Project,” said County Manager Patrick Cates. “It is important that we clear up any misinformation circulating and clarify this land and this project are not under the jurisdiction and control of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. The county has no authority to approve or condition this project in any way.”
The operator of the project, Knox Excavating, and the owners of the trust land entered into an agreement to mitigate some of the impacts to the county and residents. Approved by commissioners at their Sept. 17 meeting, the agreement includes mitigation controls, cooperation on flood control, and payments to help with the maintenance of Johnson Lane.
“They were under no obligation to do this,” Cates said. “I am grateful for their willingness to work with us.”
Much of land in the Pine Nut Mountains is federal, either managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Bureau of Land Management. There are several mining claims in the Pine Nuts, and there has been several working mines over the 170 years since settlers arrived in the area.
It has been three years since Douglas County limited gravel or any other kind of mining to industrially-zoned sites after an attempt by a Lake Tahoe sewer district to establish a gravel pit to help defray the cost of digging new sewer ponds on land they control above Stockyard Road in the East Valley.