The Union Democrat

Meeting will focus on Chinese Camp woodpellet plant

- By ALEX MACLEAN The Union Democrat

A Sacramento-based nonprofit organizati­on that’s planning to spend upward of $100 million to build a new biomass wood-pellet manufactur­ing plant in the Chinese Camp area will host a public meeting about the project Monday.

The meeting, hosted by Golden State Finance Authority, is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Monday in the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisor­s’ chambers on the fourth floor of the County Administra­tion Center at 2 S. Green St. in Sonora.

It’s intended to provide an opportunit­y for people to learn more about the organizati­on’s proposed Golden State Natural Resources Forest Resiliency Project and submit feedback on the scope of an upcoming environmen­tal impact report, or EIR, for the project.

A notice of preparatio­n released on Nov. 18 triggered a 30-day public review and comment as the first step in the developmen­t process under the California Environmen­tal Quality Act, followed by an EIR that will assess the project’s potential effects on the environmen­t.

The plant would be located on La Grange Road about a mile from Highway 108 at Sierra Pacific Industries’ former Keystone bark processing plant, which Golden State Finance Authority announced it was in the process of purchasing in late 2020.

Another plant being developed by the organizati­on as part of the same project would be located on the Modoc Plateau in Lassen County.

Both plants would use excess and unmarketab­le fire fuels cut from national forests to create

wood pellets that would be exported to China and other internatio­nal markets for renewable energy generation.

The organizati­on is a partner of Rural County Representa­tives of California, or RCRC, a 39-member group that lobbies for the interests of rural counties at the state capital.

Greg Norton, president of RCRC and executive director of Golden State Finance Authority, said at an annual summit of the Tuolumne County Alliance on Resources and Environmen­t in 2020 that he estimated the Tuolumne County plant would create up to 60 jobs and support 560 others either directly or indirectly.

Dec. 19 is the deadline for the 30-day period to submit comments on what the EIR for the project should assess in terms of potential effects on the environmen­t.

Comments can be submitted via email to with the subject line “GSNR Scoping Comment,” or via mail to Golden State Natural Resources, 1215 K St., Suite 1650, Sacramento, CA, 95814.

To view the notice of preparatio­n of an EIR and get more informatio­n about the projects, go online to

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