Grass Valley to officially respond to grand jury at City Council meeting |

Grass Valley to officially respond to grand jury at City Council meeting

Know & Go

What: Grass Valley City Council

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday

Where: 125 East Main Street, Grass Valley

The city of Grass Valley has been working on its official response to the Nevada County Civil grand jury’s report on mine water and public health since June. On Tuesday night, city staff will present the response to the council for approval.

The staff report is accompanied by a four page letter, addressed to the Judge Candace S. Heidelberger, detailing 15 individual responses to the grand jury report — several of which directly contradict the grand jury’s findings.

“The City of Grass Valley (City) appreciates the Grand Jury’s concern for the proper management of the environmental legacy of Grass Valley’s mining history — a concern the City shares,” the proposed response begins. “However, the Grand Jury’s report concerning water flow from the Drew Tunnel and Magenta Drain is missing essential information and, accordingly, draws the wrong conclusions.”

One of the items the grand jury noted as problematic was its perceived lack of action by the City of Grass Valley on the lack of progress by Newmont Mining to fulfill an agreement to construct a new water treatment plant.

The grand jury stated, “In a negotiated settlement, the owners of the North Star Mine site agreed to construct a new treatment plant, which would treat the additional flaw into the treatment plant by February 2013. To date, the new treatment plant has not been constructed. The Nevada County Grand Jury finds there has been no discernible effort by the City of Grass Valley to seek judicial relief in the enforcement of the civil agreement.”

The proposed city response, however, states, “The City has been working with the Regional Water Quality Control Board and Newmont USA Limited to enforce the existing agreement. That agreement does not provide the City sufficient tools to compel Newmont to honor its commitment to build the new treatment plant as quickly as we would like. We are negotiating with Newmont to resolve this situation in an effort to avoid more costly litigation.” (See this story online to review the proposed response).

If approved by the council, the City of Grass Valley will send this document to the Nevada County Superior Court, signed by outgoing Mayor Dan Miller and Vice Mayor Jason Fouyer. The deadline for that response is Sept. 21.

In other business, the City Council will also hear an update on efforts to ensure equal access to civic life for people in our community with disabilities. At this stage in the process, the city is looking for public input on the matter, and surveys have been distributed to local advocacy groups, according to the staff report.

Tuesday night’s meeting of the Grass Valley City Council will convene at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 125 East Main St.

To contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher, email or call 530-477-4230.

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