CCMA RMP/EIS Comments
Attn: Planning Coordinator
Bureau of Land Management
Hollister Field Office
Concerning the BLM Resource Management Plan for the Clear Creek Area.
We realize that management of the Clear Creek area is a complex issue. We realize that the BLM is required to submit a RMP/EIS after the EPA has determined the area to be hazardous. As concerned citizens, we are interested in only the truth. We know that under this current administration, the EPA has political agendas that uses science that may be flawed. We suggest that the BLM and the EPA recognize the publication by Geologist E.J. Fowkes, PhD published June 20, 2008, titles “Geological Creek Management Area, San Benito County, California”. We at the Coalinga Rockhounds Society have discussed this and we have come the conclusion that “Alternative A” is the only alternative that we prefer along with these following recommendations:
I. There may be some health hazards in the Clear Creek area. The magnitude of which has not been firmly established. Therefore we suggest that an independent laboratory be charged with doing a serious, scientific study, concerning the possible dangers of Coalinga Crystotile asbestos.*
A. Let the study “precisely delineate” all dangerous asbestos areas.
B. Let roads through all dangerous areas be sealed.
C. Let the study include a case study of the many past employees of the asbestos mines and mills that were once in operation many years ago. Many of these employees still reside in the Coalinga area.
1. Were they disabled because of asbestosis?
2. Were they hospitalized with asbestosis?
3. Are they now suffering ill effects of their work environment?
a. Explain their ill effect, if any.
II. If there be mercury processing mills where amphibole asbestos was used for insulating pipes or boilers, let that area be closed with fences or thoroughly cleaned up.
III. Let rockhounds make the choice. They have read the reports and understand the risks. Let them decide if they are willing to accept the risk of rockhounding in the Clear Creek area.
*Guidebook to Geological Resources of the Coalinga District California, Second Edition by E.J. Fowkes, PhD, page 52.
IV. Waver-of-Liability forms may be acceptable for rockhounds.
V. Let the Condon Peak area, the Joaquin Rock area, the east slope of the CCMA, and many other obviously unindustrialized areas be opened with access roads, trails, camping, and toilet facilities.
A. Let rockhounds be permitted 24/7.
B. Access restricted, by appointment only, to certain times or dates is not conducive to good public relations and is not acceptable.
VI. Let the public lands with grazing rights leased to local ranchers be completely open for rockhound use with points of access at nearest public road.
A. Los Gatos Road from the Condon Peak access area to Wright Mountain with no locked gates.
B. The roads that lead to Black Mountain/Joaquin Rocks that are gated by grazing lease holders be opened.
C. No longer let the grazing lease holders lock out the public so that they may control said lands for their own personal recreational benefits.
VII. Let areas with endangered species be fenced off.
VIII. Archeological or sites of historical significance should be viewable but protected from vandals.
A. This will include hieroglyphics, engravings, paintings, or other artifacts.
B. High fences, posting signs, and signs explaining the artifacts significance may be required.
IX. Caves and mine shafts should be posted as “closed” to all visitors to the CCMA.
X. The CCMA has been used for family activity for decades. Now is a times when “family” is more important than ever. Do not exclude people 18 years old and younger. This exclusion policy is generational discrimination.
A. Allow the youngest of campers, infant through 18, use of campgrounds in and around the CCMA to camp in areas deemed safe for camping (ie: Condon Peak, Black Mountain, Lion Canyon, and many others).
The social and economic impact of opening this area as suggested herein would be phenomenal. The Clear Creek area would soon become the most used and sought after place for family recreation in the state of California. The BLM would receive much applause and appreciation from everyone for their straight forward management of this complex area.
Coalinga Rockhounds >