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CGF In the News
Los Altos Town Crier
By Lauren McSherry, Town Crier Staff Writer
An expanse of dirt and rock created by Hanson Quarry continues to expand along the hillside neighboring Los Altos and is visible from Milpitas to Palo Alto, according to the Committee for Green Foothills.
Last week, the committee launched a campaign to stop the quarry from increasing the size of the scar, a result of truckloads of waste rock dumped on top of and behind the ridge at the northern end of the quarry.
"The most important issue is the ridgeline deposit of waste rock," said Brian Schmidt, the committee's legislative advocate for Santa Clara County. "At this time of year, it stands out clearly from all the surrounding green."
The committee alleges that the mile-long scar is the most visible result of several alleged environmental violations committed by Hanson Quarry.
The quarry, formerly owned and operated by Kaiser Permanente Cement Plant, is one of the top producers of cement in Northern California. Hanson Permanente Concrete Inc. mines approximately 5 million tons of rock from the 3,500-acre site in Cupertino, Schmidt said.
In its action alert, the committee cited three problems that have resulted from the quarry: as the scar expands, it will become visibly worse and take years to re-vegetate; the easement created in 1972 to protect the ridgeline and shield quarry operations from view does not protect the hillside area where the scar continues to expand; and since the quarry sidewalls are weak and have been damaged by three landslides in three years, future landslides could collapse adjacent land owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
Kaiser Permanente signed a scenic easement with Los Altos-area residents in 1972 that the quarry could not retrieve limestone below an elevation of 1,500 feet.
Page last updated September 13, 2010 .