Ask Supervisors to Begin Closing Lehigh’s Cement Plant

Lehigh Quarry and cement plant. Photo by Dicklyon

Update: On December 13, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ask the County Planning Commission to consider revoking the use permit for the Lehigh Quarry cement plant based on its legal violations and because the plant constitutes a public nuisance.

On Tuesday, December 13, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to direct the Planning Commission to consider revoking the conditional use permit for the cement plant at Lehigh Quarry based on it being considered a “public nuisance.” There are hundreds of legal violations and dozens of public complaints about the cement plant, and many more about the quarry. As a first step to shutting down and restoring the quarry, please ask the Supervisors to direct the Planning Commission to consider closing Lehigh’s cement plant!

What’s Happening

For decades, Lehigh has been operating the largest active quarry in Santa Clara County in the foothills outside of Cupertino, which also includes a massive cement plant. Fractured regulatory authority over Lehigh makes it hard to track the extent and nature of its legal violations. Yet, County staff’s recent research showed that over 2,100 violations have occurred in the last decade, many of them serious. These legal violations at the cement plant, together with public citizen complaints, show that the plant’s dust, heavy traffic, noise, and air pollution unreasonably interfere with the local community’s quality of life, and constitute a “public nuisance.”

The County, which has crucial enforcement responsibilities concerning Lehigh, previously determined that it had sufficient legal grounds to consider the cement plant in potential violation of its use permit. The next step in holding Lehigh accountable rests with the Supervisors who will decide on Tuesday whether to have the Planning Commission consider revoking Lehigh’s permit to operate its cement plant.

Why It’s Important

For decades, mining and cement plant operations at Lehigh Quarry have discharged toxic selenium into Permanente Creek and contributed to air pollution, noise, and dust in the region. Hundreds of acres of the Lehigh property have been reduced to moonscape conditions. The thousands of legal violations from both the quarry and cement plant have made the impacts even worse.

It is time for the County to shut down the cement plant both because of legal violations at the plant and because it is a public nuisance, impacting our community through its noise, air and water pollution, and dangerous traffic. This would also be an important step towards completely shutting down all quarry operations, allowing environmental restoration to begin.

What You Can Do

Please email the Supervisors and ask them to direct the Planning Commission to consider revoking the cement plant’s use permit because of its legal violations and because it constitutes a public nuisance!

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