County could head off pit repeat
September 7, 2017
On Thursday, Douglas County officials proposed heading off a new proposal for a new gravel mining operation at the pass.
A new ordinance designed to limit large subsurface mining operations to general industrial zoning is being proposed.
Under current regulations, mining operations, like a gravel pit, can be conducted on land zoned agricultural, range and public facilities.
That latter is the zoning on 1,000 acres of land inherited by the new Douglas County Lake Tahoe Sewer Authority, which takes effect on Oct. 1.
Residents supporting the new ordinance fear that the authority isn't the only source for gravel mining in the Pine Nuts.
The county has been actively seeking congressional approval of a lands bill that would transfer swaths of property in the Pine Nut foothills from the BLM.
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Selling that land to a private party, could result in a similar situation elsewhere along the base of the Pine Nuts, and residents are looking for reassurances that establishing an open pit mine of any sort would be difficult.
No matter what commissioners do with this new ordinance, mining will still occur in the Pine Nuts, which are mostly controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.
Residents are hoping that regulations that made federal land unattractive to large solar generating plants will have the same effect on mining operations.