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Supes to Consider Multiple Appeals Filed on Lehigh's Reclamation Plan

County's Board of Supervisors will hear public comments on Lehigh's approved reclamation plan. Meeting starts at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Lehigh Southwest Cement’s reclamation plan, , faces appeals filed by the company itself, environmental groups and a land preservation agency. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will take the appeals under consideration at a public meeting Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the County's government center located at 70 W. Hedding St. in San Jose.

Public comments will be heard before the board votes.

Patch will follow this activity and report on the board’s vote.

Appeals were filed by Lehigh, environmental groups Quarry No and Bay Area for Clean Environment (BACE), and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD).

MROSD has asked the board in its appeal to reschedule the vote to a later date “to allow time for all interested parties, including the (MROSD) to prepare for the hearing,” which falls “just one working day after the closure of the appeal period,” the agency wrote in its appeal.

In its letter to Board President George Shirakawa and the other supervisors, MROSD expressed a reluctance to file the formal appeal.

“This is a bit awkward, as we are not accustomed to challenging the administrative decisions of sister agencies, we have great respect for the County, its leadership and staff, and the challenging nature of this matter. We do not take this step lightly,” it wrote.

Among MROSD’s objections to the approved plan were numerous “serious” concerns about the environmental impact related to the reclamation plan, which would affect 639 acres disturbed by the mining practices of the Permanente Quarry, operated by Lehigh. Its detailed list of concerns can be found in attachments to this article.

Lehigh filed its appeal based on its objections to a number of conditions the Planning Commission placed on the approval of the reclamation plan, including authority and permissions given to the Planning Manager, language surrounding the County’s provision of documents to other agencies, the use of soil amendments, mitigation of air quality impacts through occupancy restrictions, and water quality and groundwater testing and monitoring plans.

Quarry No’s and BACE’s appeals are similar in nature with concerns about the company’s compliance and release of harmful materials in the air and water.

The omission of the company’s cement plant and its activities from the reclamation plan is a bone of contention for Quarry No, BACE and MROSD as well.

The company’s environmental impact report (EIR) and reclamation plan amendment was approved by the Planning Commission with a number of conditions required that the company must meet as it reclaims land in and around the quarry.

The appeals of each can be found through links on the County's website. The Planning Commission's activities related to Lehigh can be found at its Permanente Quarry page.

Frank Geefay June 26, 2012 at 03:08 AM
This is terrific news verging on miraculous. Hopefully things can be delayed long enough until Liz Kness leaves to work for Lehigh as a paid consultant (guess) and Joe Simitian steps in to replace her on the Board of Supervisors. We need someone fresh who hopefully will be more fair and balanced between Lehigh and representing his constituents. We couldn’t possibly get worse than Liz Kness who has clearly been far too close to Lehigh. The consistency by which she looks out for the best interests of Lehigh on the County Board of Supervisors is far too apparent. It is essential that the Cement plant and all of its facilities be part of the reclamation plan. It currently isn’t. To reclaim the mine but leave the huge cement plant facility intact will amount to a toxic waste and disaster, a danger to curious and unsuspecting hikers and children, and an eyesore to the community and people wanting to enjoy the restored mine after Lehigh leaves. There is no justification for a regulatory agency to be so callous and negligent of its responsibilities to look after the best interests and safety of its communities. Just because it is not part of OMR’s regulations doesn’t mean it can’t be included. You can go further than stipulated by OMR’s regulations but you can’t do less than specified.
John Bartas June 26, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Wow, there's more slime on our county supervisors than in all Lehigh's polluted toxic waste ponds (like one visible in the picture above) put together. Every group except Lehigh asked them to delay the hearing while we prepare, but no; They rush into it the first day they legally can. Even their sister agency MSROD seems unable to make them back off from their shameless giveaways to Lehigh. There's plenty more to say, but I'll save it for the hearing in the morning.

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