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Liability

Taxpayer Liability Issues

The County would have approved the quarry's Environmental Impact Report (EIR) without a plan to deal  financially with the damage the quarry operation can cause.  The County's position?  Not a drop of water or  an ounce of toxins will escape the closed landfill during the planned 20+ years of blasting rock right next door to it!  Not a speck of dust or particulate matter that blows through the Petaluma Wind Gap toward Cotati and Petaluma will escape the quarry to endanger anyone's health! 

The proximity of the closed, unlined and uncapped landfill immediately adjacent to the quarry site is a huge liability for County taxpayers.  And, because residents from all cities in Sonoma County used the old Roblar landfill before it was closed in the mid-1970's, this means that individual cities could also be held liable for damage caused if the landfill is compromised by the quarry operations.

In a letter to the Planning Department on Nov. 16, 2009, Susan Klassen, deputy director of the County's Department of Transportation and Public Works stated, "....the Department remains concerned over the potential liability associated with the risk that the quarry project will draw contaminants from the former Roblar Landfill to the quarry site," and required the developer to indemnify the County against all liability costs.

County and Cities Make Quarry Owner Indemnify Them Against Damage

Cities Unaware of Their Liability

Throughout most of the EIR process, the local cities were not aware that they could be held liable for damage caused by the Roblar Road quarry.  CARRQ supporters and other concerned taxpayers lobbied the cities about damage that could occur to the structure of the landfill itself, and the environmental and health hazards that may occur from blasting. 

As a final condition of approval of the project, quarry owner John Barella is required to indemnify the County and cities in Sonoma County against damage to natural resources caused by the quarry's operation.  He personally had to indemnify these entities for $7.5 million.  This is not a lot of money to cover damage to the structure of the landfill or damage to the local watershed if it should occur, nor is there any back up plan if John Barella becomes unable to cover the $7.5 million.

Who Indemnifies Residents Against Damage Caused by the Quarry?

No one!  Residents along Roblar Road have always been concerned about potential damage to the watershed, especially any damage or draw down of residential wells.  If this damage occurs at any time over the 20+ years the quarry is to operate, residents are on their own to sue the County and John Barella for damages.