GRAVEL Mine gets first OK
Despite the many negatives—serious environmental impacts, opposition from the city of Chico and the Farm Bureau, even the developer’s own admission that it wasn’t needed—on Jan. 25 the Butte County Planning Commission approved, 3-2, a use permit for Baldwin Contracting Co.’s proposed sand and gravel mine on the M&T Ranch. Dissenting were the two Chico commissioners, Chairwoman Nina Lambert and Chuck Nelson, both of whom were most concerned about truck traffic impacts on Chico.

The project will no doubt be appealed to the Board of Supervisors. The board also must decide whether to allow it out of Williamson Act protection. If it refuses to do so, the project, which has been in the works for 11 years, must wait another nine years to be implemented.

Baldwin wants to operate the mine for 20 to 30 years on 195 acres along Little Chico Creek leased from the M&T Ranch. The site is about five miles west of Chico off Chico River Road. It is expected to generate about 90 truck trips per day, most of them through Chico.

A zero-emissions pledge
Continuing its leadership in the area of campus sustainability, Chico State University has announced that President Paul Zingg signed a long-range commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make the campus “climate neutral” in its effect on the environment.

Zingg was one of six presidents to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. It calls on campuses to have a complete inventory of emissions in one year and an action plan in two years leading toward climate neutrality.

“Being one of the founding members of this group underscores not only our commitment to practice the sustainability values we advocate, but also to provide institutional leadership in these matters,” Zingg said in a press release.

Two months in prison
Cathy Webster (pictured) sat before a judge on Monday (Jan. 19) and was told she’d spend 60 days behind bars. And she isn’t scared. Or sorry.

“I feel pretty good,” she said by phone from the airport, heading back to Northern California from Georgia, where she was arrested in November. Not bad for just a day after her sentence.

Webster, a 61-year-old Chico activist, posted bond and will be required to report to prison when the time comes—probably within the next six weeks. She hopes she’ll be sent to the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin in the Bay Area, the same facility where Dorothy Parker, a fellow Chico grandmother, served time last year for the same crime.

Webster was one of 16 people arrested in November for trespassing onto the Fort Benning Army Base in protest of a school the base runs—the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of the Americas). All were sentenced to jail time except one, a minor, who received probation, a fine and community service. One woman, a repeat offender, was sentenced to six months.

“I feel really supported and resolved about what I did in the first place,” Webster said. This will be her first time behind bars