Clear Creek: safer than smoking a single cigarette

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Turns out we weren’t the only ones to detect something fishy in the EPA’s falsified evidence and the BLM’s rushed closure of California’s Clear Creek OHV area. The California State Off Highway Motor Vehicle Commission just completed its own risk assessment. Their conclusion? There’s more risk in smoking one cigarette per year than in riding at Clear Creek. Kind of makes us worry about second hand smoke.

In my original article on the subject, FOIA documents revealed that the EPA’s tests were flawed both in method — conducted during a time of year in which the OHV area is closed and using unrealistic vehicle scenarios — and apparently deliberately tampered with as well — despite being closed to the public and with no maintenance on record, the trails had clearly just been roughed up with a bulldozer. FOIA also revealed that the BLM had put pressure on the EPA to remove language from its assessment which suggested there was, in fact, no health risk due to the chrysotile mineral found in the area.

This new OHMV report is a huge PDF that’s too big to embed here, but you can download the whole thing here. As you can see, this third-party testing calls into question the validity of the EPA’s results and therefore the BLM’s decision to close Clear Creek.

With growing public pressure to see Clear Creek re-opened and questions being asked about it in Congress, it’s looking increasingly likely that the EPA and BLM may have to reverse their wrongdoing.

Click here for all our Clear Creek coverage.

  • fasterfaster

    Nice work. Please keep reporting on this. I would be very excited to see Clear Creek re-open.

  • Brammofan

    Two thumbs up, Ken.

  • Mark D

    I never thought I’d say this, but bully for all the fresh-faced Republicans voted in last election. This kind of government oversight gone wrong is just their cup of tea, if you’ll pardon the pun.

  • HammSammich

    I grew up riding dirt bikes in an amazing area outside Roslyn, WA that has since been closed for environmental concerns. While that closure was (hopefully) for more credible reasons than the Clear Creek closure, I am occasionally saddened to think that my kids won’t be able to experience how amazing it was.

    I’m really hopeful that Clear Creek will be re-opened and riders who grew up there will get to pass the experience on.

    • Tony

      That area’s mining history pretty much guarantees poison in the ground.

      I’m from Ellensburg, WA and I can tell you that the giant slag piles are pretty awful. The cancer rates in my family are high, especially for those who lived in there their whole lives. That probably has a lot to do with the kind of life led by people for whom logging and mining are attractive ways of life, though.

      • HammSammich

        My understanding of that area was that the Rider’s were supposedly harming the environment…not the other way around. Of course, it’s probably been 20 years since I’ve been there, and as a young’n, I may not have understood the reasons. I do remember people complaining that it was because the filming of the series, Northern Exposure, nearby was making the area a popular bedroom community for people who worked in Seattle (Remember $.87/gallon gas?) and they felt the bikes were causing a nuisance, but I don’t know how valid that theory is.

        As far as the slag piles…I’m sure there’s some nasty stuff in them, but man…hill climbing Old Number 9, was a right of passage.

  • Adam

    One positive thing coming out of the gov.

  • dux

    Eeepa! Eeeeeepa!