Numerous doctors, environmental organizations and public officials agree: high levels of pollution from cement plants are not healthy. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 when it set the first national limits to reduce mercury and other toxic emissions from cement plants, “... 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...”
Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant (Lehigh), the largest single, stationary emitter of toxic air pollutants in Santa Clara County according to 2008 data. Lehigh is located directly adjacent to Silicon Valley, one of our State's key economic engines as well as a major population center. It is located adjacent to Cupertino and Los Altos and within a few miles from Sunnyvale, Los Altos Hills, San Jose, Mountain View, Saratoga, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, and Campbell. According to the July 2012 Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) staff report, Lehigh is one of the few cement plants in the country located in an urbanized area. 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.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) will publish the regulations for cement plant emissions. Their proposed regulations, just released on July 20th, do NOT impose the most protective and at the same time feasible regulations. We believe more protective regulations are appropriate for one of the few cement plants in the country that is close to a large metropolitan area. Lehigh is located in close proximity to residential areas and several large schools.
Annual health costs from the cement plant pollution are estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. These costs have been estimated from both BAAQMD and EPA publications. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 when it set the first national limits to reduce mercury and other toxic emissions from cement plants, "...The rules are expected to yield $7 to $19 in public health benefits for every dollar in costs...".
The effects of pollution on our health are much more expensive than the cost of reducing the pollution.
We need your help to protect the air you breathe. Please sign this petition, and submit a public comment and we’ll deliver it to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
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