On June 3, the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center’s fiscally sponsored group W.A.T.E.R. (We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review) released a letter from its attorney, Donald B. Mooney, to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors. The letter states Crystal Geyser’s “planned expansion is inconsistent with the County’s General Plan and Zoning Ordinance” and new operations (such as tea brewing, plastic bottle manufacturing, and bottling of juice delivered to the site) require the County to conduct an Environmental Impact Review (EIR) before issuing a conditional use permit to allow such operations.

Crystal Geyser, a subsidiary of the multinational pharmaceutical company Otsuka Holdings, recently moved ahead to relocate its operations to Mt. Shasta’s former Dannon/Coca-Cola plant, from facilities they are closing in higher cost areas. Local citizens, recalling numerous earlier problems (disrupted water supplies, truck traffic, toxic waste disposal, etc.) want to know the corporation’s true long range plans. They are advocating for an EIR to provide full scientific information about proposed expansions. Based on this science, appropriate monitoring and regulation can then be put in place to protect the community.

Thus far, county officials have insisted their permitting of the plant is “ministerial” rather than “discretionary”, and thus not subject to an EIR. However, attorney Mooney’s letter notes this is not in fact the case, and states that “…the County must immediately cease and desist from issuing any permits that are inconsistent with the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance” and prevent Crystal Geyser from operating in such a manner.

For more information, you can read the press release from W.A.T.E.R. here, and the full text of the letter here.