No response yet to WATER by Crystal Geyser or the county

Deborra Brannon

Neither Crystal Geyser nor the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and county planning director Greg Plucker had responded as of Monday to a letter sent by land use and water attorney Donald Mooney requesting that the county stop issuing permits for Crystal Geyser’s proposed operation at its plant on land adjacent to the City of Mount Shasta.

The letter, which included additional requests, was sent on behalf of the local community group We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review about three weeks ago. It stated that the group reserved “the right to file an action in Siskiyou County Superior Court” if the county and Crystal Geyser did not assure the group within two weeks that its requests would be honored.

“We have not yet had the courtesy of a reply from the county or from Crystal Geyser. If we don’t hear from them soon we’ll be evaluating our next step,” Mooney said Monday.

Siskiyou County Interim Administrative Officer Rose Ann Herrick reported that the county “is not inclined to comment at this time” on the matter.

Judy Yee, Crystal Geyser ‘s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Strategy, commented in an email that “Crystal Geyser’s legal counsel has reviewed the letter and does not believe the accusations have merit.”

Mooney’s letter further requested that the W.A.T.E.R. group be informed that all future activities will comply with the county’s General Plan and Zoning Ordinance, and that such plant activities “will not include the manufacture of plastic bottles and will not involve the brewing of tea, nor the bottling of tea and juices,” activities Mooney contended are heavy industrial uses of the land.

He cited aspects of the county’s General Plan, its Land Use element, and a development policy included in it to support the group’s assertions that a concurrent designation as a Woodland Productivity area overlaying the heavy industrial zone in which the Crystal Geyser plant is located allows light industrial but not heavy industrial use of the land.

The letter also asserted that Mooney’s citations signal a requirement for the county to consider discretionary rather than ministerial permits before Crystal Geyser proceeds with its planned operations.

This could trigger environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, if it were found that the operations for which discretionary permits were sought “may cause either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment,” according to the state website: