By Nao Braverman
The most recent environmental impact report for the new Diamond Rock mine claims that increased traffic from gravel trucks will not significantly impact the quality of life in Ojai.
To the dismay of members of the local Committee to Stop the Trucks, the EIR, released on May 15, also states that there will be no traffic impacts if travel is not allowed during rush hour, there will be no safety impacts regarding school travel, no noise impacts, and no significant impact on air quality in Ventura County.
Michael Shapiro and Howard Smith, two active members of the local Stop the Trucks Coalition stood in front of an audience of about 160 people packed into the Chaparral Auditorium on May 15.
Holding opposite ends of two pieces of rope, they stretched them out for the audience to see. One was measured to the length of two average size, modern day gravel trucks, the other was the exact width of a tunnel along Highway 33. They were about the same.
“There is no way that two trucks going opposite directions could fit through that tunnel at once without hitting each other,” explained Smith.
Road safety is just one of the many concerns that committee members have regarding the increasing truck traffic.
They are also worried about the impact that more diesel trucks would have on the valley’s air quality, student safety, and, in turn, the local economy.
Though the project’s draft EIR identifies a significant and unavoidable impact on Ojai’s quality of life, the final EIR states that the quality of life impact will be less than significant.
Committee members disagree.
By Nao Braverman