San Emidio Quarry Project Expansion EIR
Benchmark Resources provided planning and environmental services to Kern County of Kern for application processing and environmental review of the proposed San Emidio Quarry Expansion Project in unincorporated Kern County. The project provides for the expansion of surface mining on over 4,000 acres and production of up to 5 million tons of aggregate products each year for the over 140-year life of the operation. Benchmark Resources assisted Kern County with environmental review of the San Emidio Quarry Expansion Project, culminating in the preparation of a final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was certified by the County Board of Supervisors in December 2016. Benchmark Resources assisted the County with all aspects of environmental review for the project, including preparation of a detailed initial study checklist, peer review of application documents, preparation of the draft and final EIRs, and preparation of CEQA findings and a statement of overriding considerations in support of Planning Commission and Board hearings.
As an existing mining operation, the definition of the environmental review “baseline” was a critical component. The environmental analysis presented in the EIR required clear explanation to ensure the public and decision makers appropriately distinguished between ongoing operations and changes that would occur as a result of the proposed expansion.
Benchmark Resources prepared the initial study, notice of preparation, and draft EIR with a clear description of the existing operation and comparison of the existing operation to the proposed expansion. The draft EIR project description provided a comprehensive matrix summarizing the comparison and the resource impact evaluations presented in the EIR clearly defined existing conditions accounting for the existing operation as compared to conditions anticipated as a result of approval of the proposed expansion.