As Lead Agency under the State of California's Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) and Alameda County's Surface Mining Ordinance (SMO) and Specific Plan for Livermore-Amador Valley Quarry Area Reclamation, the Community Development Agency's (CDA) Neighborhood Preservation and Sustainability Department (NPS) is charged with the managing and administrating the review and permitting of new and existing surface mines on unincorporated lands. In addition, NPS responsibilities include:
- review, permitting, and processing of surface mining permit (SMP) applications, permit amendments, and reclamation plans under SMARA and the SMO for existing approved and vested sites, permitted surface mines, expansion of operations, and new permits;
- management of annual and periodic mine inspections and reviews to ensure operation compliance;
- enforcement of SMO and SMP conditions of approval and SMARA regulations;
- review and approval of the permitted surface mines' financial assurances; and
- management and development of mineral resources through the land-use planning process as mandated by SMARA and the SMO.
Alameda County places importance on locally produced and processed materials such as construction aggregate. Access to local materials reduces the need to transport aggregate material from outside the County and, thus, reduces greenhouse gases (GHG). In addition, local production of aggregate is the largest industry in the unincorporated County. Aggregate operations not only support employment and tax generation, but aggregate is required to construct buildings and to build and maintain the County's infrastructure, such as roadways and sidewalks. Thus, maintaining local access to aggregate is critical to the County's welfare.
The State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB) designates areas with a high likelihood of having significant aggregate deposits as “Regionally Significant Aggregate Resource Areas” (SMARA Section 2790). Incorporated into the Alameda County General Plan, the purpose of this designation is to provide counties and local agencies with information on the location, need, and importance of these mineral natural resources and to ensure this information is considered in local land use decisions. This designation is also the SMGB's formal recognition of lands containing mineral resources of regional or statewide economic significance that are needed to meet the demands of the future.
The California Geological Survey's map, Aggregate Availability in California, Fifty-Year Aggregate Demand Compared to Permitted Aggregate Resources, can be viewed here: http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/information/publications/ms/Documents/MS_52_map.pdf#search=Map%2052