Home Breaking News National forest officials release revised environmental assessment on quartz mine proposal

National forest officials release revised environmental assessment on quartz mine proposal


Ouachita National Forest officials are seeking public comment on a revised Environmental Assessment, released April 28, on a proposal to extract quartz from an area of the forest, located in Yell County.
Public comments will be taken from April 28 through May 31.
The current assessment is a revision from the initial one released in December last year.
The project known as the Barber Quartz Prospecting Permit would allow approximately 21 acres of forest land to be used to mine crystals. The mine would join several in the region that are located on national forest land.
“After reviewing the comments received by the public on the initial Environmental Assessment, we revised the EA and are asking for comments on three alternatives,” said Tim Oosterhous, Mena-Oden district ranger. “We are committed to minimizing the adverse impacts of mining on other resources while promoting multi-use management on public lands.”
A close proximity to the Ouachita Trail and Highway 27 was a source of concern for local activists. The new environmental assessment offers three possible outcomes. One would leave the original proposal as is. A restricted proposal would increase a buffer zone around the Ouachita Trail to 300 feet and would limit mining to Summer months when tree and vegetation growth would help hide mining operations from the trail and highway. The third option is a no action option.
Comments will be considered, evaluated, and included in the project record. Comments may be submitted by postal mail, email, or in person.
Comments mailed through the postal service can be mailed to District Ranger, 1603 Hwy 71 North, Mena, AR 71953. Comments can also be faxed to (479) 394-2389. Oral or hand-delivered comments may be submitted at the above address during normal weekday business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Comments may be mailed electronically, in a common digital format, at comments-southern-ouachita-mena- oden@fs.fed.us.
For objection eligibility, each individual or representative from each entity submitting timely and specific written comments regarding the proposed project or activity must either sign the comments or verify identity upon request
Please state “OQC-282 Quartz Contract” in the subject line when providing electronic comments, or on the envelope when replying by mail.
The environmental assessment can be found on the Ouachita National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55086.