A long-running battle to reduce toxic pollution and other impacts from the Lehigh cement plant and quarry, which is about 40 miles south of San Francisco, reached a major milestone in 2012. We reached this milestone thanks to the hard work of local citizens, some elected officials, and a huge boost of support from over thousands of people who signed our petitions asking government officials to take action. Lehigh Cement Plant is located directly adjacent to Silicon Valley, one of California State's key economic engines, as well as a major population center. Pollution from the plant is carried by the prevailing winds throughout Silicon Valley and enters the water in the San Francisco Bay and reservoirs through the creeks. By signing this petition, you can help to build more positive momentum for a cleaner healthier tomorrow.
Cement plants are among the nation's worst toxic polluters. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced protective health standards to reduce cement plants’ toxic emissions of mercury, particle pollution and other harmful pollutants from Portland cement manufacturing. According to the EPA, "...Mercury can damage children’s developing brains, and particle pollution is linked to a wide variety of serious health effects, including aggravated asthma, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart and lung disease..." The EPA estimates that the rules will yield $6.7 billion to $18 billion in health and environmental benefits. However, the EPA in 2012 did an about-face and gave the polluters a two-year delay in implementing the standard.
In contrast, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Board in September 2012 unanimously approved the first-ever regional air pollution regulations for cement plants and required compliance by September 2013. Their leadership is important because this regulation would apply to the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant(Lehigh) which is a major industrial facility uniquely located within a densely populated area. We also appreciate BAAQMD's willingness to consider stricter regulations depending on technological feasibility, and we urge them to carefully consider the July 2012 report of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club that indicates that there are well-established, economically feasible pollution control techniques used at other cement plants to provide even more protection for the public.
In addition, the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) Board in 2012 took legal action to defend the quality of Rancho San Antonio Park along with the health of its employees and the park’s 500,000 yearly visitors. The MROSD board showed leadership by taking legal action regarding the impact of Lehigh’s operations on air and water quality, visual resources, recreation. MROSD has also taken action to install air monitoring equipment within the park.
We would like to thank both BAAQMD and MROSD agencies and ask that they continue to be active in protecting the residents of the Bay Area from pollution and other impacts from the Lehigh cement plant and quarry. Please sign this petition.