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Rock Quarry Suit Settlement Near
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If the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors gives its approval, the City of Riverbank will see some money coming its way out of the controversial Cooperstown Quarry project.

Riverbank filed suit in hopes of halting the project, which will see rock mined out of the 135-acre quarry in the foothills and sent along the railroad tracks through Riverbank and Oakdale. Rather than stopping the project, the suit did succeed in bringing about some changes, such as the payment (reportedly seven cents paid to the city for each ton of rock taken from the quarry) and a marked reduction of rail traffic from the site. Officials said the train trips would now see about 30 rail cars carrying rock through the region each week, compared to the originally proposed 1,200.

Attorney Doug White, representing Riverbank in the suit against Cooperstown Quarry, said the goal was to make sure that, if the project went through, its effects on the city could be effectively mitigated. With an estimated $4 million likely to be funneled to the city over the life of the project, he said that can help - but not entirely fund ‑ infrastructure improvements the city will need to make to handle the increased train traffic.

No detailed environmental report will be required now, since the train traffic has been scaled back.

Riverbank filed suit against Tuolumne County and the quarry owner-operators over the project in April. Also filing suit were the environmental groups, Friends of the Mother Lode and the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center. The county board there anticipates having the item on its agenda for next month, at its Sept. 4 meeting. Riverbank City Council members approved the settlement at their Aug. 13 session.

A spokesperson for Tuolumne County said they want to get the quarry project up and running, so reaching a settlement on the suit was key.