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After Stinging Commentary, County Postpones Cement Hearing

A public hearing that had been scheduled for March 22 was postponed by county planners, who need more time to respond to the comments made about Lehigh Southwest's draft EIR.

The Santa Clara County Planning Commission has postponed a March 22 public hearing on the plant's reclamation plan.

The cement company's Permanente Quarry is located on county land just outside Cupertino, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

The County Planning Office said it and its environmental consultants needed more time to "review, analyze and prepare response" to public comments made about the Permanente Quarry Reclamation Plan Amendment.

"The Santa Clara County Planning Commission public hearing tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. on the Permanente Quarry Reclamation Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Report is postponed," the announcement released Thursday said.

The County will announce a new hearing date by 5 p.m., Friday, March 23, 2012.

This comes just a short time after the county was chastised by two public agencies for insufficiently addressing flaws in the reclamation plan's draft EIR. Reviewers from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District called the plan a "bold desperate move by the quarry," that had been "aided by poor county oversight."

Shin-Roei Lee, chief of the Watershed Management Division of the San Francisco Region Water Quality Control Board, wrote a detailed 29-page document that urged against quick approval of the draft EIR that she said "significantly underestimated and under-identified" the environmental impact.

Although the public comment period closed Feb. 21, the public can see the reclamation plan's draft environmental impact report and all comments received on the county Planning Office Web page.

The office said that additional material was physically available at the Planning Office, located in the East Wing, 7th Floor at 70 W Hedding St., San Jose, CA 95110.

Rod Sinks March 09, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Read the Regional Water Quality Control Board's document for yourself here: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/sanfranciscobay/water_issues/hot_topics/Lehigh/EIR_2-21-12.pdf It is a well-researched, thoughtful analysis, and easier to find at this link than on the County web site, where it is among 345 pages of input from many other individuals and groups.
Frank Geefay March 09, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Event Summary: In July of 2011 the Office of Mine Reclamation (OMR) notified Lehigh that they were in violation of AB3098 for not have a valid Reclamation Plan (RP) for the East Material Storage Area. http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/lehigh-to-lose-right-to-sell-cement-to-government This would exclude them from selling cement to government projects. Lehigh filed a Lawsuit to delay OME’a action http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/lehigh-to-lose-right-to-sell-cement-to-government Lehigh then paid County for additional resources to expedite an amendment to their RP before a court ruling could be rendered http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/lehigh-lawsuit-blocks-ban-from-ab-3098-list In January 2012 the County asked for Public Comments to be submitted by 2/23/2012 for the RP http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/lehigh-officials-tout-eir-residents-remain-unconvinced-5a729821 and scheduled a public hearing for 3/22/2012 to approve the RP. The Water Quality Board and Open Space District submitted scathing comments about the inequities of the amendments http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/lehigh-draft-eir-lacking-agencies-assert As a result the County postponed the 3/22/2012 public hearing http://cupertino.patch.com/articles/after-stinging-commentary-county-postpones-cement-hearing-51cd1d8e A court decision in favor of OMR’s AB3098 to removing Lehigh from delivering cement to government projects before the RP is validated is now possible.
Susan March 11, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Does anyone know why the court is dragging its feet on the AB3098 decision? Unfortunately, bought-and-paid-for-judges are a reality, so when is it reasonable to be suspect of Santa Clara County's judiciary as well? Infamous example: "The Blankenship/Benjamin incident may be the most dramatic recent example of a judge placing powerful interests ahead of the interests of justice, but it is only a symptom of a larger disease. Corporate-owned courts presided over by the business community's hand-picked arbitrators are fast becoming the rule, and a deeply ideological bench is only sometimes available as an imperfect alternative. Like Don Blankenship's competitor, millions of ordinary Americans don't stand a chance when they appear before a judge who was placed on the bench solely because of their conservative, pro-corporate viewpoints---or worse, are kicked out of court and forced in front of an arbitrator whose job is to ensure that powerful interests never face real justice." Full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-millhiser/supreme-courts-judge-for_b_171498.html On a related note, "The Fair Political Practices Commission, which has the authority to mandate the disclosure, could decide by Thursday whether to start requiring judges to put [their financial disclosure] reports online along with the rest of the state's elected officials'. Full article: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_20147009 Good idea... duh!

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