Students raise concerns about Jesse Morrow Mountain report

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Students raise concerns about Jesse Morrow Mountain report

An analysis by California State University, Fresno students of the Jesse Morrow Mountain Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) details concerns about degraded air quality, protection of Native American remains and lack of funding for infrastructure support.

Students in an “Environmental Learning” class reviewed and analyzed the report, which was released by Fresno County in September. The class is under the direction of Dr. Mark Somma, a professor of political science in the university’s College of Social Sciences.

The county’s report addresses a proposal by CEMEX, a construction materials firm, to mine Jesse Morrow Mountain, just outside Sanger. CEMEX intends to mine the mountain for aggregate to produce concrete.

Jesse Morrow Mountain is a landmark along California Highway 180, which leads to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The DEIR was developed by a consultant, Resource Design Technology Inc., hired by the county Department of Public Works and Planning to assess the project’s various impacts.

The students’ analysis of the report concluded that there are several key areas of concern, including:

  • The project will create levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) from vehicle exhaust beyond what is acceptable, despite all proposed mitigation procedures, harming air quality.
  • The protection of Native American remains could be jeopardized by blasting during the mining process.
  • Plans for infrastructure support intended to mitigate traffic issues is on hold due to a lack of funds.

The student analysis also raises questions about DEIR findings on erosion, groundwater quantity, farmland preservation and wildlife protection.

Students Rafe Hodgson, Rudy Placencia, Janell Anderson, Brandon Hill, Jarod Hardman, Sarah Rutherford and James Cobern conducted the analysis and review.

A copy of the students’ review is available by e-mailing Somma at markso@csufresno.edu.

For more information, contact Hodgson at rafehodgson@gmail.com.