Final counts reveal that more than 10,000 letters were submitted to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors during the public comment period for the Sargent Ranch Quarry Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) regarding a proposed open-pit mine at Juristac (Sargent Ranch) in southern Santa Clara County.

The majority of letters came from Santa Clara County voters, plus scientists, academics and interested parties from across the region, according to the county.

Of those comments, 99.99% of submissions oppose the proposed mine and raise concerns and questions about the mine’s social and environmental impacts, according to a press release from Green Foothills and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Fewer than 10 comments, or 0.1% of all comments received, supported the project.

“Our tribe never could have imagined that local residents would offer this kind of support when we started our efforts to oppose the sand and gravel mine more than eight years ago,” commented Chairman Valentin Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, to whom the land at Juristac is sacred.

“It is so important to us to have environmentalists, Indigenous and human rights advocates and many others stand in solidarity against this project. This is the first time that all religious leaders in Morgan Hill and Gilroy have stood up to support protection of a Native American sacred site. It’s encouraging even as we still have a long way to go to remove the threat entirely.”

Information about the public comments was obtained through a public records request to the county, says the press release. County officials are still reviewing all the letters submitted during the DEIR public comment period, which ended on Nov. 7.

The Sargent Mine open-pit sand gravel mining operation is proposed by Sargent Ranch Partners, LLC. The proposal consists of a 298-acre mining site and a 105-acre “geotechnical setback area” to serve as a buffer from surrounding uses, according to the draft EIR.

The proposed mining site is located about four miles south of Gilroy and one mile south of the Highways 101 and 25 interchange. The property is within the largely undeveloped Sargent Ranch, which occupies about 6,200 acres in Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

The public comments will be considered as the county prepares its final EIR. Santa Clara County Principal Planner Robert Salisbury said due to the volume of public comments that county staff have to review and respond to, it could be at least another 12 months before a final EIR is completed. 

The county planning commission will hold a public hearing on the final EIR when it is complete, likely toward the end of 2025 or early 2026. 

“This is a truly astounding volume of comment letters submitted on a DEIR,” said Alice Kaufman, policy and advocacy director for Green Foothills. “Personally, I’ve never seen a DEIR receive even a fraction of this number of comments. And to have them almost unanimously opposing the open-pit mine and calling for the protection of Juristac is an incredibly powerful statement by the public as to the future of this sacred landscape and critical wildlife corridor.”

The proposed mine would be located on ancestral land that is sacred to the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and home to critical environmental habitat and resources, according to the tribe and environmentalists. Juristac is a key wildlife corridor linking the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Diablo Range to the east and the Gabilan Range to the south.

The Sargent Mine applicant is requesting a 30-year mining permit from Santa Clara County, according to the draft EIR. The proposed mining operations would be conducted in four phases.

The project is meant to provide sand and gravel aggregate for contractors and public agencies. The site is estimated to contain 40 million tons of sand and gravel aggregate. Extracted material would be transported off site by trucks and trains, according to the draft EIR.

In recent months, Santa Clara County residents have continued to voice their opposition to the mine.

On March 27, the Associated Students of San José State University passed a resolution to support the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the protection of Juristac.

In the resolution they stated, “the Associated Students at San José State University supports the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve Juristac as an open space in perpetuity and to regain access to their cultural and spiritual land at Juristac.” They went on further to urge the County of Santa Clara to deny the approval of permits for the proposed Sargent Quarry Project.

More than 25,000 people have signed a petition to stop the mine. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Green Foothills have released a Statement of Opposition to the proposed mine, signed by more than 50 current and former elected officials and more than 75 community and nonprofit organizations.

Six local city councils have formally adopted resolutions opposing the mine: Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sunnyvale. Dozens of tribal governments, labor organizations, academics, scientists and faith communities from across the region have submitted letters of support to the county calling for protecting Juristac and denying permits to the proposed mine.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


  1. If you want better roads, the gravel has to come somewhere. Can’t import it from China.

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