Talks of mining on Jesse Morrow Mountain have come to a close. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a permanent ban on mining there. It’s a sigh of relief for those who have fought against Cemex's mining project, for years.
“It gave us some level of comfort, of course there are still concerns. We couldn't address everyone's concerns but I think today, getting the restrictive covenant in place is a positive step for the mountain,” said Friends of Jesse Morrow Mountain member, Marsha Burch.
But the vote didn't come easy. You might remember, last month, Cemex officials offered to permanently cancel its mining project on the mountain if county supervisors agreed to postpone a rehearing of the project's failed environmental impact report. Members of the Friends of Jesse Morrow Mountain group weren't buying it. They worried Cemex had a destructive project up its sleeve. But after private talks between all parties and changes within the agreement, supervisors decided to approve the permanent ban and postpone the rehearing. It’s a win for Cemex officials.
Cemex attorney, Patrick Mitchell said, “We think it's a great thing for the county. We were able to go and agree on every single change that was made on this red line.”
Cemex officials will not say what their plans are with their more than 2,000 acres.
The Board of Supervisors made the approval with the addition that if the county ever decides to release the permanent ban, it would require a supermajority, four votes, if it's legal to do so. They say that is something they’ll have to review.
A rehearing of Cemex's environmental impact report will take place, early January.