Hold a Polluting Cement Plant Accountable to the Law
During a public hearing on February 10, 2011, the Office of Mine Reclamation(OMR) stated that Lehigh Southwest Permanente Cement and Quarry (Lehigh) in Santa Clara County has been operating outside of its approved Reclamation Plan since 2002 and is not qualified to be on the AB 3098 List. Quarries on the list are in good standing with the state mining laws. Quarries not on the list cannot sell cement or aggregate to government funded projects. Lehigh should have been taken off the list in 2002. However, to this day, Lehigh remains on the AB 3098 list, unfairly taking contracts away from those quarries in compliance. It was estimated that Lehigh sold 85% of its cement to Government agencies. If OMR removes Lehigh from the AB 3098 list immediately, OMR will get Lehigh’s attention right away and hopefully bring Lehigh into compliance of California Mining Laws quickly.
Air and water violations: The EPA says Lehigh has been operating without a valid Title V Permit (Federal Clean Air permit) since 1996. According to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, its “...civil liability (ACL) against the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company (Lehigh)… is based on allegations that Lehigh discharged sediment-laden water to Permanente Creek that may also have been polluted by cement plant operations at its 24001 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino facility…”.
We need to protect the health and safety of our community and continue to attract the most highly educated and talented high-tech workforce to Silicon Valley. Therefore, effective deterrents like removal from the AB-3098 list need to be enforced by government agencies when Lehigh Permanente Quarry and Cement adjacent to Silicon Valley is in violation of the law.
Please sign the petition to ask the Office of Mine Reclamation and the State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB) to remove Lehigh from the AB 3098 list immediately. Please ask your friends and neighbors to sign as well. Many of you told me that we are making Lehigh and Santa Clara County panic and sweat now. Please keep up your good work. Thank you very much for your help.
I'm writing to ask that OMR remove Lehigh from the AB 3098 list immediately. Lehigh has been operating in violation of State Mining Laws for more than ten long years and has numerous labor safety, water and air violations going back as far as 1996. In addition, Santa Clara County has been consistently tardy and negligent in addressing Lehigh's violations. Please also take back the lead agency role from Santa Clara County.
Lehigh, one of the top polluting cement plants in the U.S., is located directly adjacent to Silicon Valley, one of our State's key economic engines as well as a major population center. Pollution from Lehigh is carried by the prevailing winds throughout Silicon Valley as well as entering the waters of San Francisco Bay and local reservoirs through the creeks. We need to protect our State’s economic engine and the health and safety its highly educated and talented high-tech workforce. We also need to protect the health and safety of our community and continue to attract the most innovative high-tech workforce to Silicon Valley. Lehigh Quarry and Cement operation needs to be in compliance with State Mining Laws. So long as it remains on the AB 3098 list in spite of its violations, Lehigh is unfairly taking contracts away from those quarries that are in compliance. Unfortunately, Santa Clara County has not been living up to its lead agency role. For these 10 long years, it has not requested that Lehigh be removed from AB 3098 list; nor has it done an adequate job of enforcing the State Mining Laws against Lehigh.
The stakes are high for our State’s economic security. Please enforce the Laws and bring Lehigh Quarry and Cement Plant into compliance by removing them from the AB 3098 list immediately. And, please take back the lead agency role from Santa Clara County immediately. Thank you very much.