Update on Lehigh Reclamation Plan and EIR
Per Bill Almon of Quarry No.
We went to the Planning Commission Hearing on the Lehigh Final EIR and Reclamation Plan Thursday (May 24) and presented our comments which are attached here. The Planning Commission heard the Staff and Public comments and then continued the hearing to a “date certain” which could be 5:30PM May 31, which they have reserved, or sometime a week later. The delay was justified by the additional time required to digest the data delivered by the Staff right before the meeting. The turnout was not as large as anticipated and many Lehigh employees were present to comment Lehigh is a good place to work. We don’t argue that. We argue that expanding mining and cement production in a growing residential area for another 20 years is not wise.
The Commissioners appeared to accept the Staff position that the Selenium cannot be removed easily from Permanente Creek, that the scenic easement replacement is too costly, and that the Cement Plant/Trucks do not have to be included in the EIR. We disagreed and in the time remaining we have to reinforce our arguments.
In particular, please search for examples of successful selenium water treatment efforts worldwide. The Water Board stated there was a plant in Canada but had no further details. If we can prove there is, the Planning Commission will listen to forcing immediate treatment now rather than in 20 years. We also are examining other actions regarding the exclusion of the Cement Plant and the Trucks in the EIR. Their exclusion is not compliant with CEQA and the Commissioners must certify that the EIR is 100% compliant.
Since the hearing was continued rather than being adjourned there should again be comments from the public allowed. We will advise you of the next Hearing as soon as it is scheduled.