Ask Supervisors to Support Steps to Close Lehigh Quarry

Lehigh Quarry. Photo by Jitze Couperus

On Tuesday, February 15, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will decide if staff should investigate options for purchasing Lehigh Quarry and cement plant, potentially ending decades of air and water pollution. The ravaged moonscape of the quarry could finally begin habitat restoration to the benefit of all. Please ask the Supervisors to support the referral to staff as a first step to protecting the environment at Lehigh Quarry.

What’s Happening

For decades, Lehigh has been operating the largest active quarry in the foothills on the outskirts of Cupertino. Lehigh Quarry agreed to a plan that would close the quarry in stages with full completion by 2032. Now though, they want to change the plan and expand operations beyond 2032, guaranteeing the spread of environmental devastation into new areas.

Generations of residents have lost local habitat, experienced air and dust pollution, and lived with polluted water runoff due to its operation. The quarry operators have committed multiple violations of air and water quality regulations, while residents have had to deal with the dust covering their homes and invading their lungs.

The proposed referral gives the County an opportunity to investigate whether it should acquire the quarry and cement plant to stop the environmental damage and finally complete the restoration. While the cement plant and rock-crushing facilities that cause so much pollution are not currently planned for closure, this proposal to buy and close the facilities could change that. It calls for staff to research the potential for acquisition and present their results to the Board of Supervisors within 90 days.

Why It’s Important

Nine hundred acres of the Lehigh property have been reduced to moonscape conditions. While current plans require recovery of the natural environment when the quarry or parts of it are closed, full recovery could take decades or far longer, and some physical alteration of the land will be permanent and can only partially recover.

As Supervisor Simitian puts it, Lehigh Quarry and cement plant currently damage the community with potentially no end in sight. Instead, this action can eventually bring an end to the harm and protect our air and water by restoring hundreds of acres of damaged land, something that rarely happens.

What You Can Do

Please email the Supervisors and ask them to approve the referral, directing staff to investigate how the County can explore options for purchasing Lehigh Quarry and cement plant to protect our environment!

Thank You to Those Who Make Our Work Possible
Green Foothills appreciates every individual, agency, and foundation who makes our work possible and we are proud to recognize every contributor in Our Donor Community. Thanks to their generous support, we are able to champion land use decisions that affirm and support open space, biodiversity, climate resilience, and natural resources in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. To ensure local nature always has an advocate, please become a Sustaining Contributor today.

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