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.
We the undersigned agree with the Santa Clara County Medical Association’s 2009 letter to BAAQMD requesting that BAAQMD support the requirement of a central stack to provide for the best conditions to establish accurate continuous emissions monitoring and determine the true health risks.
We also agree with the Cupertino City Council and the Los Altos Hills City Council 2012 letters to BAAQMD requesting that BAAQMD adopt the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s more protective new source performance standards (NSPS) for Lehigh.
We also support the findings of the Air Quality Committee of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club in July 2012 report to BAAQMD, which indicates that there are well-established, economically feasible techniques used at other cement plants to provide even more protection for the public.
We believe regulations that are the most protective of public health are appropriate and feasible for one of the largest cement plants in the U.S. that is close to a large metropolitan area. Please safeguard the health of the public.