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Cement Plant News

Cupertino California – Lehigh Cement Plant

06/11/2012 Lehigh Restoration Plan Approved; Opponents Stunned by Rock Pile Size In a decision that impacts local foothills and communities along Permanente Creek for the next two decades and beyond, the Santa Clara County Planning Commission unanimously approved a plan to reclaim hundreds of acres of the Permanente Quarry operated by Lehigh Southwest Cement.
02/24/2012 Los Altos Hills Council Says It Wants Stricter Air Standards for Lehigh Cement Taking a cue from Cupertino, the Los Altos Hills Town Council voted unanimously to send a letter to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) supporting stricter standards for the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant and Quarry.
10/24/2011 Lehigh Cement: Factory Where Alleged Gunman Worked Has Long History of Safety Violations The Cupertino quarry and concrete plant where employee Shareef Allman allegedly killed three people Wednesday has a long history of environmental and safety violations and could soon be prohibited from selling to local and state government agencies.
07/26/2011 Cupertino: Lehigh cement could lose right to sell cement products to government agenciesIn a potentially massive blow to the company’s bottom line, the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company could lose its right to sell cement products to state and local government entities, after the state’s Office of Mine Reclamation issued a stern 30-day notice to comply on July 20.
06/18/2011 Protesters Rally Outside Lehigh EntranceCarrying signs and shouting chants demanding protection from pollution, nearly 60 people marched up Stevens Creek Boulevard Saturday morning to the Lehigh Southwest Cement entrance just outside Cupertino.

“No more pollution! No more pollution!” was among the protesters’ chants shouted under a hot sun during the rally that lasted about an hour. Many protesters were from surrounding neighborhoods.

06/17/2011 No Toxic Air to Protest Lehigh Saturday; Judge Sets LimitsThe citizen watchdog group No Toxic Air is marching in protest on Lehigh Southwest Cement outside Cupertino Saturday morning, although plans to venture inside company gates were sidelined by a judge’s order Thursday morning.

Why the group would want to cross over into private property for a protest puts a legal dispute between No Toxic Air and Lehigh at center stage, with focus on a county road built in 1893 that was seemingly taken over by past quarry owners in 1935, although no can seem to remember exactly when, why or how.

06/07/2011 Steve Jobs Wouldn’t Cry if the Cement Plant Got the BootSteve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, says he “wouldn’t cry” if Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant and Quarry were booted from the Cupertino neighborhood where Jobs was reared.
06/05/2011 Lehigh Cement Focus of Public Forum on Monday – Air quality officials will be at forum to answer questions about regulations and possible health and environmental effects of plant operations.The crux of the controversy over the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant and Quarry—what are the health and environmental effects on the region, if any—is the focus of a public information forum on Monday night, hosted by a joint committee of the Los Altos Hills and Los Altos city councils.
06/04/2011 Kiln cuts Mercury pollution 90 percent complying with new EPA rulesThat’s why the new MACT/NESHAP rules for cement plants that take effect in 2013 are so very important. That’s why fighting Congressional Republican efforts to repeal them is so important. And that’s why Downwinders at Risk spent over a decade fighting for them, in the courts, in the EPA, and in the court of public opinion.
06/04/2011 Lehigh plant says drastic cuts made to emissionsThe Lehigh Permanente cement plant announced Friday it is using new technology to substantially reduce its mercury emissions, which have worried Cupertino, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents for a long time.
06/03/2011 Mercury Emissions Drastically Reduced With Installation of New System, Lehigh Officials AnnounceA new system to reduce mercury emissions from the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant by 90 percent is working and already dramatically cutting mercury output after one month of operation, Lehigh officials announced this morning.
05/27/2011 No Toxic Air Files Lawsuit Against Santa Clara County, Lehigh CementGroup asks court to throw out Board of Supervisors’ vote last February giving Lehigh ‘vested rights.’

The leaders of No Toxic Air filed a lawsuit Friday afternoon against the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Lehigh Southwest Cement asking a judge to throw out the supervisors’ Feb. 8 vote giving the company vested mining rights.

05/10/2011 Significant Mercury Exposure or Not?The leader of a local citizen watchdog group recently told the Los Altos City Council that Lehigh’s cement plant emitted mercury in recent years beyond a trigger number requiring public notice. The charge, however, was disputed by officials from both Lehigh and the Bay Area Air Management Quality District (BAAQMD).
05/10/2011 Lehigh Will Pay $10,000 Fine For Water Violation – Los Altos PatchThe Lehigh Southwest Cement Company will pay a $10,000 administrative civil liability fine to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board for sediment-laden runoff into Permanente Creek, a company official confirmed Tuesday.
03/30/2011 County Seeks Input on New 210-acre Lehigh Pit Mine

What environmental issues do 1.7 million neighbors of the Lehigh Southwest Cement plant and quarry want studied as the company plans a new 210-acre pit mine in the foothills just outside Cupertino, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills?

03/14/2011 Lehigh Quarry Under Microscope for Possible Water Violations

The Lehigh Southwest Cement quarry came under further scrutiny last week, in part after revelations that the company is possibly discharging millions of gallons of unpermitted water containing sediment and toxins into Permanente Creek and San Francisco Bay.

03/08/2011 Committee minimizes quarry health concerns: Lehigh tagged with follow-up violation for water dumping

Despite public outcry against allegedly harmful emissions from a nearby quarry, members of a joint Los Altos-Los Altos Hills committee investigating Cupertino’s Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant determined last week that concerns might be overstated.

02/18/2011 New Website About Lehigh Cement Plant Data Made Available By Los Altos and Los Altos Hills

Two newly created fact-finding committees of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city councils have jointly created a website for residents who want to look at documents and data involving the Lehigh cement quarry operations.


Lehigh Not A Sponsor For CEEF Fundraising Gala

Lehigh Southwest Cement will not be supporting this year’s Cupertino Educational Endowment Foundation (CEEF) fundraising gala in March, despite the fact that the company has sponsored the event in the past and is prominently featured on invitations and in publicity.


CEEF returned donation from the Lehigh cement plant; each side offers a different explanation. [Translated from Chinese]
Cupertino Endowment Education Foundation (CEEF) pointed out that due to the political controversy generated by Lehigh cement plant’s new quarrying activities, they reached a verbal consensus with Lehigh last week such that CEEF will decline the donation from Lehigh for the “CEEF 2011 Gala” fund-raising campaign.


Vested Rights Granted to Lehigh Cement in Santa Clara County

Today’s alert points to an article describing a decision by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors (against the advice of its own staff) to grant vested rights to Lehigh Heidelberg Cement Group, which will now not have to apply for new land-use permits to quarry on 13 of 19 parcels it owns in unincorporated lands adjacent to the towns of Cupertino and Los Altos in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead, it will be able to operate under the rules in place at the time mining first began on their property.

The Santa Clara County BOS was apparently very influenced by our own Nevada County Hansen case. In fact, the attorney in the Hansen case (Mark Harrison) also argued this case before the Santa Clara County Board (he was allowed 15 minutes to speak, but the main opposition group, No Toxic Air, was not accorded equal time).


Fisher: An uphill battle for cement plant opponents

The folks who worry about the impact of living near the Lehigh Cement plant in the Cupertino hills call it a “big, dirty secret.” “Lehigh has been polluting for years,” says Hoi Yung Poon, a vocal member of the grass-roots group No Toxic Air. “And no one wants to talk about it.”


Board of Supervisors says century-old quarry in Cupertino still has vested rights

At a packed hearing to help guide future decisions about land use by Lehigh Permanente Quarry, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously agreed that operators of had “vested rights” for numerous parcels on its site in unincorporated Cupertino.


Quarry Vote Favors Cement Plant Rights—And Portends More Citizen Action

Part courtroom procedural, part political theater, Tuesday’s county public hearing over “vested rights” for the quarry owned by the Lehigh Heidelberg Cement Group provided plenty of drama.


Breaking News about Santa Clara County Granting Vested Rights to Lehigh Cement near Cupertino

On February 8, 2011 at around 5 pm Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to grant vested rights, often referred to as nonconforming use for surface mining activities, to most of the approximately 2,656 acres supposedly owned by Kaiser Cement prior to 1948 as requested by Lehigh at a special evidentiary hearing and disregarded their own County staff’s recommendation that there was a lack of direct evidence that much of these areas were intended to be used for mining operations which included the East Material Storage Area.


Quarry has vested rights, county rules

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously decided Tuesday evening that Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant, located in unincorporated county land near Cupertino and Los Altos, maintains a vested right to operate certain portions of its several-thousand-acre facility purchased before 1948.


County Supervisors Unanimously Vote in Favor of Quarry Land Rights

In a major win for the Lehigh Heidelberg Cement Group, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday evening in favor of “vested rights” for the majority of the company’s mining operations at the Permanente quarry, despite calls from dozens of residents to limit or deny those rights.


Hundreds Turn Out at Public Hearing on Lehigh Cement Plant’s Proposed Operations

Dozens of anti-mine demonstrators held signs saying ‘No Vested Rights,’ ‘No Mercury,’ ‘No More Dust,’ at a hearing today at the county supervisors meeting.


Two Major Opportunities For Public to Weigh in on Lehigh Cement Plant

A public hearing on Feb. 8 at the county level and a written comment period to the air quality district is now open until March 25 give residents a chance to voice opinions.


Commentary: Residents respond to Cupertino’s Lehigh Cement plant manager

Lehigh Permanente Cement Plant and Quarry (owned by Heidelberg Cement of Germany) is supposed to be highly regulated. However, in his recent commentary, plant manager Henrik Wesseling fails to acknowledge that Lehigh has a long history of elevated mercury emissions and regulatory violations for air, water, land and labor issues.


Los Altos Council Approves Cement Plant Fact-Finding Committee

The Los Altos City Council will consider asking for air and water quality stations, special committee and more to examine the Lehigh Southwest Permanente Cement Plant and Quarry.


Council Weighs Heavier Involvement in Cement Plant Issue

Unanimous vote will launch committee to investigate effects of local plant on air and water in Los Altos.


Angry Residents Tell Council to Stand Up to Cement Plant, County

Cupertino City Council members say they have represented the public’s interests when it comes to Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant and Quarry; residents disagree.


MSHA announces results of November impact inspections

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration on December 21 announced that federal inspectors issued 250 citations, orders and safeguards during special impact inspections conducted at 12 coal and 10 metal/nonmetal mine operations last month.


Residents speak up against cement plant expansion plans

In Cupertino, the city council listened to hours of testimony Tuesday night from people who oppose the expansion of a local cement plant. The Lehigh Cement Plant is located south of I-280 on Stevens Creek Boulevard.


Lehigh Southwest Cement discharges worry neighbors

Neighbors of a historic South Bay cement plant are urging authorities to block plans for extending the facility’s life for 20 years, arguing the operation spews potentially harmful amounts of mercury into the air.


Cupertino cement plant draws neighbors’ ire

Hundreds of residents of a Cupertino neighborhood are calling for an end to a cement plant that they accuse of releasing potentially harmful amounts of mercury.


Los Altos Hills City Council could monitor quarry

The longstanding controversy surrounding nearby Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant and its allegedly harmful emissions made its way to the Los Altos Hills City Council last month.


2. Local Cement Plant Criticized

The controversy over Lehigh South Cement’s Permanente plant will continue into the new year when the Los Altos Hills Town Council looks again at whether the plant has the right to use the land where it is currently storing quarried rock. City leaders are concerned about the environmental impact of plant operations as well as questioning whether whether Lehigh can use what’s called the East Materials Storage Area (EMSA) for storing quarried rock that cannot be used for manufacturing cement.


Los Altos Hills Town Council Sharply Criticizes Owners of Local Cement Plant

Members of the Los Altos Hills Town Council had some harsh words Thursday night for Lehigh Southwest Cement, and expressed doubts that county and other regulatory agencies are paying close enough attention to activities at the Permanente cement plant and quarry just to the south of the city’s boundaries.


Opponents offer 3-phase plan to halt cement plant operations

With a renewed five-year permit for Lehigh (formerly Kaiser) cement plant being considered, opponents of the pollutive facility in the Cupertino foothills are mounting a three-phase plan to halt operations.


Los Altos council digs into quarry controversy: Plant officials continue to defend operations

Los Altos Hills resident Bill Almon, a vocal critic of emissions from nearby Lehigh Permanente Southwest Cement Plant in Cupertino, received support for his cause from the Los Altos City Council last week.


Los Altos City Council Expresses ‘Grave Concerns’ About Local Cement Plant

The Los Altos City Council decided Tuesday to dig into a county debate over the future of a local quarry and cement plant that has been accused of pumping toxins into the air.


Los Altos jumps into quarry debate

The Los Altos City Council decided Tuesday to dig into a county debate over the future of a local quarry and cement plant that has been accused of pumping toxins into the air.


Middle School eCYBERMISSION Team Tests Mercury Levels, Takes Action

For the fourth year in a row, Harker students claimed regional recognition in eCYBERMISSION’s national competition, receiving monetary awards totaling $18,000 between the two teams.


Residents near lehigh will soon know if air is polluted

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District set up a mobile air-monitoring station at Monta Vista Park on Sept. 1 and is working with the city to measure pollutants in the neighborhood, which is close to the Lehigh Southwest Cement facility off Stevens Creek Boulevard.


Lehigh Cement unveils plan to reduce emissions by 25 percent

Lehigh Permanente cement plant announced June 23 that it has installed equipment to reduce mercury emissions by 25 percent.


Cupertino council votes to install air monitor near Lehigh Cement plan

A recent surge in public pressure from residents regarding the air quality in neighborhoods around the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant has prompted the city to let the Bay Area Air Quality Management District set up an air monitoring station about two miles from the facility.


Cupertino’s Lehigh cement permit renewal on hold for new EPA standards

A permit renewal that outlines all federal regulations for the Lehigh Cement Plant’s operation is on hold as regulatory officials wait to add tough new federal emission standards to the voluminous operating permit.


Permit renewal withdrawn for Lehigh cement plant

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has withdrawn its Title V operating permit renewal for the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company, an apparent victory for increasingly vocal opponents of the Cupertino-based plant and quarry.


Air district extends deadline for comment on Lehigh permit

A debate over the lack of public input spurred the Bay Area Air Quality Management District last month to give opponents of a longstanding Cupertino cement plant more time to petition against renewal of the plant’s operating permit.


Original Commencers on Title V permit renewal can petition an Objection

In looking at the document regarding petitioning the EPA, it is only those who turned in comments on the Title V Renewal Permit who can bring a petition of objection to the EPA based on their already filed comments.


Objection Period for Title V permit renewal
After a lot of researching, I just found out that the EPA already signed off on the Title V permit. While that is a terrible process, they are allowed to do so. There is a 60 day period in which to object. The EPA signed off on Sept 25 — yep, BEFORE the end of the public comment period, BEFORE they got the info they requested from Lehigh, and BEFORE the public could review that info.


Overwhelming public response could delay Cupertino cement plant’s permit process

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District could delay until December a decision about whether Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant should have its permit renewed.


EPA wants crackdown on cement plants’ mercury

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule Tuesday that will require cement plants in the United States – including plants in Cupertino and Santa Cruz County – to reduce stack emissions of mercury, dust and other pollutants.

Differing views of the quarry: Controversy a constant companion as cement makers continue operations

The sight evokes a reaction that’s slightly less overwhelming than surveying the expanse of the Grand Canyon. Workers are mining a gigantic pit encompassing some 600 acres and plunging more than 700 feet deep into the earth.


Chasing the Quarry: The state battles global warming in cement plants like Cupertino’s Hanson Permanente

FROM the lip of the Hanson Permanente quarry, on the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Cupertino, the Santa Clara Valley stretches out in panorama. Few cement plants in California are this close to this many people.


EPA urged to control mercury from cement kilns

Environmental groups Wednesday called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a law that would control the thousands of pounds of toxic mercury discharged into the atmosphere every year by cement kilns in the United States.

05/31/2006 Stevens Creek Reservoir lacks multilingual signs on toxic fishThere is a catch to fishing at Stevens Creek Reservoir–one that so far has only been posted in English. The reservoir, popular with a diverse group of anglers from throughout Santa Clara Valley, is home to highly toxic fish. The reservoir’s water supply is tested regularly and is considered safe to drink.
11/03/2004 Reservoir’s water is fine, but the fish are pollutedA recent scientific study revealed that there is something fishy in the waters of Cupertino’s Stevens Creek Reservoir. A three-year study by the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Board determined the reservoir had the highest level of mercury in its fish out of the 10 local reservoirs surveyed.

Ash Grove Oregon – Ash Grove Cement Plant

11/15/2010 OR Cement Plant at Epicenter of EPA Air Pollution BattleThe Ash Grove Cement Company plant in Durkee, Oregon, is one of many under orders from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut back on dangerous mercury emissions. The federal agency says the plant’s mercury levels are among the highest in the country, and has announced new rules for cement kilns nationwide.
11/15/2010 Eastern Oregon Cement Plant At Center Of Pollution DebateThe Ash Grove Cement Company plant outside of Baker City is one of many locations ordered by the EPA to cut back mercury emissions. The agency said the mercury levels are currently some of the highest in the country.
11/08/2010 Ash Grove files suit against EPA’s rulingThe Ash Grove Cement Co. is looking for a judicial ruling on the mercury emissions at the plant near Durkee. Ash Grove officials have filed suit today against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling on the National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.
12/12/2009 Oregon drops the ball on mercuryAsh Grove Cement Co., Baker County’s largest employer, is suspending operations this week. Cement consumption dropped nationally because of the recession.
09/30/2009 Oregon cement plant shutting down, cutting 68 jobsAsh Grove Cement Co. announced layoffs Wednesday at its Durkee plant in Eastern Oregon and eight other factories around the nation. The Durkee plant, the largest private employer in Baker County, will lose 68 of its 115 employees, Ash Grove said.
08/04/2006 Errors understate mercury emissionsAn Eastern Oregon cement plant that releases more toxic mercury into the air than any other source in the state actually emits far more mercury than it had reported to authorities.

Brooksville Florida – Cemex Cement Company


Cemex fined for mercury emissions, ordered to make changes at Hernando kilnCemex has been slapped with a $525,000 fine for emitting mercury at levels nearly 10 times the allowable limit, and the company has been ordered to make changes to one of its Hernando cement kilns to alleviate the problem.

Evansville Pennsylvania – Lehigh Cement Company

09/16/2010 Residents complain about cement dusttAfter hearing complaints from several residents Wednesday night, the Maidencreek Township supervisors voted to send a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection asking officials to reopen an investigation of the Evansville Plant of Lehigh Cement Co.
09/15/2010 3 named to quarry-complaint panellThe Richmond Township supervisors have approved appointments for a board that will handle complaints stemming from an expanding quarry operation in the township.

Fairborn Ohio – CEMEX Inc.


Cemex to pay $2M for pollution controlsCEMEX Inc. will pay a $1.4 million penalty for Clean Air Act violations at its site near Fairborn. In addition, Cemex will spend about $2 million on pollution controls.

La Salle Illinois – Illinois Cement Company


Cement plants face new regulationsAt first blush, the owners of the parent corporation of Illinois Cement Company don’t know how a new series of federal environmental regulations will impact production at their plant in La Salle.

Mitchell Indiana – Lehigh Cement Plant


Lehigh Cement Company to Modernize Mitchell, Indiana Cement Plant..Lehigh Cement Company, a subsidiary of the German building materials company, HeidelbergCement, today announced plans to expand and upgrade its cement manufacturing plant in Mitchell, Indiana. The modernized plant will use the latest technology and equipment to significantly reduce energy usage, fuel consumption and emissions per ton of cement produced.

Ravena New York – Lafarge Cement Plant

01/31/2011 NY Cement Factory Singled Out as Source of Mercury PollutionThanks to Jeremy Piven, we all know that if you eat too much of mercury-carrying fish, you’ll run into health problems. But a recent study by the Harvard University School of Public Health suggests that simply abstaining from sushi isn’t enough to protect ourselves from this potent neurotoxin.
12/31/2010 Harvard to present heavy metals test resultsDr. Michael Bank, principal investigator for the Harvard School of Public Health’s study of heavy metals in people within a ten-mile radius of the Ravena Lafarge Cement Plant will present group results at 8 p.m. on January 6 at the RCS High School on route 9W.
12/01/2010 No conclusion on Lafarge plantA study by the state Health Department on pollution from the Lafarge cement plant reached no conclusion on whether such pollution might be making people sick, with a state official saying that answer will be addressed in a second study
11/23/2010 Cement plant’s impact on fileMore than two years after announcing plans to replace its aging cement plant, which is the state’s second-largest source of airborne mercury, Lafarge North America has filed a completed application with the state Department of Environmental Conservation outlining consequences of the $500 million project.
11/09/2010 NY Plant at Heart of Cement-Making Air Pollution BattleThe LaFarge cement plant in Ravena, south of Albany, is one of many cement factories nationwide under orders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut back on dangerous mercury emissions.

Lafarge groups gets private state health briefing

A group formed by the Lafarge cement plant will hear from the state Health Department next week on a still-unfinished health study about potential health risks around the plant.

09/21/2010 Environmentalists meet Lafarge officials at info fairResidents interested in modernization of the Lafarge Cement Plant in Ravena attended an information fair at Stuyvesant Town Hall last week.

Riverside County – Liberty Quarry

06/21/2011 Quarry Pits Temecula Residents Against Each Other (Video)The city of Temecula is caught up in a debate over a proposed rock quarry. One public hearing in April drew more than 1,000 people. There’s another hearing tomorrow, ahead of a vote by the Riverside County Planning Commission.
06/21/2011 TEMECULA: Quarry hearing to resume Wednesday morningThe Riverside County Planning Commission’s public hearing on Granite Construction’s Liberty Quarry project, a lightning rod for debate in Southwest County, is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning.
06/18/2011 Riverside County supervisors: Donations won’t impact quarry voteSince 2001, the company proposing a quarry near Temecula has donated more than $59,000 to political candidates in Riverside County — including at least $38,000 to county supervisors who will decide if the project gets built.

Union Bridge Maryland – Lehigh Cement Plant

08/24/2009 Process to help reduce mercury at LehighLehigh Cement Co. will install new equipment this week that the company is hoping will reduce its mercury output by up to 40 percent.
08/11/2009 Lehigh agrees to pollution requestsThe state and Lehigh Cement Co. reached agreements on reducing mercury emissions from the Union Bridge cement plant as well as corrective actions for the plant for violating limits on particulate matter emissions in 2007.

Department of the Environment Takes Action To Reduce Air And Mercury Pollution At Lehigh Cement In Union Bridge

The Maryland Department of the Environment today announced two significant actions to reduce mercury and resolve alleged particulate emission violations at Lehigh Cement Company’s Union Bridge plant in Carroll County.

01/08/2009 Lehigh plans to reduce mercuryThe leader of an environmental watchdog group will be in New Windsor tonight to discuss a report that revealed high mercury releases out of the Lehigh Cement Co. plant in Union Bridge, but company leaders say the problem has already been solved.
07/24/2008 Activists: Mercury pollution from cement kilns uncheckedCement kilns in Maryland and across the country emit thousands of pounds of mercury into the air and remain unchecked by federal regulators, according to a new report from an environmental watchdog group.

Wilmington, North Carolina – Titan Cement Plant


EDITORIAL: Now that we know the new mercury rules, we can study the impactAfter more than a year of foot-dragging, the federal government has come out with final mercury emission standards for Portland cement plants — the type of plant Titan America wants to build along the banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River.

News about China

04/03/2010 EPA Cooperative Activities in ChinaThe United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been collaborating with its counterpart, China’s Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), now Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), on environmental issues for over two decades.
04/01/2010 AIR POLLUTION IN CHINA (many links to other sources)According to the World Bank 16 of the worlds’s 20 cities with the worst air are in China. According to Chinese government sources, about a fifth of urban Chinese breath heavily polluted air. Many places smell like high-sulfur coal and leaded gasoline. Only a third of the 340 Chinese cities that are monitored meet China’s own pollution standards.
08/17/2009 Zimbabwean cement factory shut down on pollution concernsThe Environmental Management Agency (EMA) of Zimbabwe, which deals with environmental issues, has shutdown one of the country’ largest cement manufacturing companies for causing water pollution. The Chinese-owned cement giant, Sino-Zimbabwe, which is situated in the town of Gweru about 200 kilometers north-east of Bulawayo, was ordered to close by EMA and this has seen hundreds of workers losing their jobs.
08/30/2007 China Environment Forum – “Environmental and Health Threats from Cement Production in China”China is the world’s largest producer of cement, manufacturing 1.24 billion tons in 2006 alone. China’s cement production has grown about 10 percent per year over the past two decades, and is now growing even faster to keep up with massive urbanization. According to a press release from the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, China produced 620 million tons of cement in the first half of 2007, which is an increase of 16 percent over the same period in the previous year.

EPA Proposed Rules News

06/26/2011 EPA regulations could cost cement companies billions, force U.S. plant closuresNew federal environmental regulations will cost the U.S. cement industry billions in plant upgrades, which could lead to job outsourcing, higher prices and ultimately plant closures, according to one industry group.


The Portland Cement Association fears U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards set to go into effect by 2013 could cripple the industry.

02/27/2011 Lehigh Cement Co. plans to meet pollution control requirementsOfficials from Lehigh Cement Co. say they are moving forward with plans to be in compliance with new air pollution requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, even though the requirements weren’t included in a permit renewal from the state, and it is possible Congress may limit the EPA’s ability to enforce the limits.
02/25/2011 Proposed Cement Plant Regulations Causing Controversyhis is the largest cement producing area in the United States. With production, comes pollution. According to the EPA, more than 25% of the pounds of mercury, released by the top polluting cement plants in the Northeast, is released in the Lehigh Valley.
02/21/2011 An assault on the environmentThe new House Republican majority likes to say that the American people spoke last year. If the GOP’s spending bill is any indication, it seems the American people are clamoring for more mercury in their fish, oil on their coasts and pollution in their drinking water.
02/18/2011 House defeats EPA mercury requirement that would affect cement companiesThe cement industry has won its first round in an attempt to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from putting in place a new regulation aimed at reducing mercury emissions.
02/17/2011 Glens Falls’ Lehigh cement plant boss balks at new EPA rule on mercuryThe cement industry and some members of Congress are trying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from putting in place a new regulation that would force the local Lehigh Northeast Cement Co. plant to spend millions of dollars.
02/16/2011 Attorneys General Urge Upton to Let Toxic Emissions Rules StandNew York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, leading a coalition of attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Massachusetts, called on the U.S. House of Representatives leadership to rebuff efforts to remove critical environmental regulations that protect New York communities from toxic pollution, according to a press release from his office.
02/15/2011 NY joins fight to maintain EPA regs on cementJust as the collective angina has started over congressional Republicans’ efforts to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions of toxic mercury from cement kilns, a topic of interest to our coverage region given the number of cement operations lining the Hudson in Greene and Albany counties, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has lined up to make New York one of five state attorneys general pushing back against the move.
02/15/2011 A.G. Wants To Cement Pollution ControlsSchneiderman Leads Coalition of Five State AGs in Warning that Proposed U.S. House Resolution Would Weaken Hard-Fought Protections for Health and the Environment Ravena and two other plants collectively account for 20% of all mercury emitted annually in New York
02/15/2011 State joins effort on mercury emissionsAttorney General Eric Schneiderman is among five state attorneys general pushing back against congressional Republicans’ efforts to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions of toxic mercury from cement kilns.
01/11/2010 House Republicans Move to Undo Protections From Mercury PollutionRepublicans in Congress are introducing legislation to curtail the role of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and to prevent and roll back regulations intended to reduce air pollution such as mercury emissions from cement plants.
01/06/2010 House Republicans Move to Undo Protections From Mercury PollutionToday, House Republicans announced a Congressional Review Act resolution that seeks to undo U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules to control toxic emissions from cement plants.
12/06/2010 Emissions rules: challenging for local interestsThe Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent new emission and performance standards are presenting a challenge to the nation’s cement plants, including Lehigh Cement Co. in Tehachapi and CalPortland in Mojave.
11/08/2010 Defending EPA clean-up plansThe Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent new emission and performance standards are presenting a challenge to the nation’s cement plants, including Lehigh Cement Co. in Tehachapi and CalPortland in Mojave.
11/08/2010 Cement Industry Challenges Pollution Cuts That Would Save Lives, MoneyThe Portland Cement Association (PCA) has filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to cut toxic air pollution from cement kilns. According to the EPA, these cuts would avoid up to 2,500 premature deaths every year and result in up to $18 billion in health benefits.
11/07/2010 Cement industry challenges EPA rule driving $26/ton spikeA PCA Petition for Reconsideration and Administrative Stay with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites late additions to a final rule?national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP)?the agency issued in August without affording opportunity for public comment. The association will file a companion petition with the District of Columbia Circuit Court.
10/14/2010 Feds challenged on cement rulesEnvironmentalists in the Capital Region and Hudson River Valley are demanding that the federal government end nearly three decades of inaction on tougher rules to control disposal of toxic dust from cement kilns.
08/27/2010 Cement Emissions and Social Justicehe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing final rules that will protect Americans’ health by cutting emissions of mercury, particle pollution and other harmful pollutants from Portland cement manufacturing, the third-largest source of mercury air emissions in the United States. The rules are expected to yield $7 to $19 in public health benefits for every dollar in costs.
08/09/2010 EPA Sets First National Limits to Reduce Mercury and Other Toxic Emissions from Cement PlantsThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing final rules that will protect Americans’ health by cutting emissions of mercury, particle pollution and other harmful pollutants from Portland cement manufacturing, the third-largest source of mercury air emissions in the United States

EPA estimates that the rules will yield $6.7 billion to $18 billion in health and environmental benefits, with costs estimated at $926 million to $950 million annually in 2013. Another EPA analysis estimates emission reductions and costs will be lower, with costs projected to be $350 million annually.

08/09/2010 Cementing cleaner airPeople living downwind of cement plants like the one outside Baltimore should breathe easier, as the federal government has ordered major reductions in emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from them.
08/09/2010 EPA finalizes tighter pollutant rules for cement plantsThe Environmental Protection Agency on Monday finalized regulations limiting the release of mercury and other toxic air pollutants from cement plants, marking the first time the federal government has restricted emissions from existing cement kilns.

EPA analysts estimate the rules will trigger $926 million to $950 million in annual compliance costs nationwide in 2013 while yielding $6.7 billion to $18 billion in benefits to public health and the environment.

08/09/2010 EPA clamps down on cement plant pollutionAfter 12 years and four lawsuits, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday for the first time set rules governing how much mercury and other pollutants existing cement plants can release.
08/09/2010 EPA Adopts Strong Protections Against Air Pollution from Cement KilnsEnvironmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson today announced the nation’s strongest air pollution rules for over 100 cement kilns across the country. The move will result in significant pollution reductions of mercury, fine particle pollution, hydrochloric acid, and total hydrocarbons from the cement manufacturing industry.

The EPA estimates that cutting air pollution from cement kilns could result in up to 2,500 premature deaths avoided each year. The EPA also estimates benefits from cutting this air pollution of up to $18 billion annually, starting in 2013 when the rule takes effect.

04/30/2010 EPA to Cut Mercury, Other Toxic Emissions from Boilers, Solid Waste Incinerators/Cost-effective proposals would reduce harmful air pollution in communities across the United StatesThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing proposals that would cut U.S. mercury emissions by more than half and would significantly cut other pollutants from boilers, process heaters and solid waste incinerators. These pollutants include several air toxics which are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health problems and environmental damage. The proposed rules are estimated to yield more than 5 dollars in public health benefits for every dollar spent.

When fully implemented, today’s proposal would yield combined health benefits estimated at $18 to $44 billion annually. These benefits include preventing between 2,000 and 5,200 premature deaths, and about 36,000 asthma attacks a year. Estimated annual costs of installing and operating pollution controls required under these rules would be $3.6 billion.

01/07/2010 E.P.A. Announces Strict New Health Standards for SmogHundreds of communities far from congested highways and belching smokestacks could soon join big cities and industrial corridors in violation of stricter limits on lung-damaging smog proposed Thursday by the Obama administration. Costs of compliance could be in the tens of billions of dollars, but the government said the rules would save other billions — as well as lives — in the long run.
01/07/2010 EPA aims to tighten Bush-era smog rulesHundreds of communities far from congested highways and belching smokestacks could soon join America’s big cities and industrial corridors in violation of stricter limits on lung-damaging smog proposed Thursday by the Obama administration.
12/12/2009 EPA Cuts Mercury and Hydrocarbon Emissions for New Portland Cement ProductionThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new emission limits for cement kilns that will help cut annual emissions of mercury and hydrocarbons. These limits will help protect public health from mercury and total hydrocarbon emissions from portland cement kilns, through amendments to an air toxics standard issued on Dec. 8, 2006.
12/07/2009 EPA ready to regulate carbon emissionsThe Environmental Protection Agency on Monday pulled the trigger on the gun it has been holding to Congress’ head on climate change legislation. By finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public’s health and welfare, the EPA gave itself the authority to issue regulations that would cap carbon emissions, regardless of whether Congress passes its long-delayed cap-and-trade bill.
07/30/2009 New Mercury Limits Put Cement Industry ‘Between Concrete & A Hard Place’Cement kilns emit lots of mercury. US kiln owners are facing a deadline to cut emissions way back. What will they do with the mercury waste they capture?

The EPA modeled the financial impact of the proposed changes and found the benefits would outweigh estimated costs of $222 million to $684 million annually in 2013. Benefits were calculated at $2.2 billion to $11 billion annually — including the value of preventing 620 to 1,600 premature deaths a year

06/23/2009 Portland Cement Comments on Proposed Environmental Protection Agency’s AmendmentsIn response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed amendments to the national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for the portland cement manufacturing industry, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and the League of Women Voters (LWV) in Texas had a few things to say.
04/22/2009 Cement Kiln Mercury Emissions Regulated – In Time For Earth Day!I doubt if any other nation regulates mercury emissions from cement kilns the way USA is about to. USEPA’s just-announced progress on this front took a decade of work, several lawsuits by activists, a new EPA Administrator willing to obey the law, and a new Congress that doesn’t (yet) bow to lobbyists and interfere with EPA.
04/21/2009 Federal Government Cracks Down on Mercury Pollution From Cement KilnsThe federal government is proposing, for the first time, to reduce airborne mercury pollution from cement kilns with new rules issued today. The new standards will cut mercury pollution from the nation’s more than 150 cement kilns between 11,600 and 16,250 pounds (or a reduction of 81 to 93 percent), according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
01/16/2009 EPA Agrees To Regulate Mercury From Cement PlantsFederal regulators have settled a lawsuit with environmental activists and nine states over standards for mercury emissions from cement plants, the plaintiffs announced Friday.
01/16/2009 Under Pressure From States and Environmental Groups, EPA Agrees to Address Mercury from Cement KilnsThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement today that will put in motion long-awaited plans to adopt mercury air pollution limits for cement kilns. The standards, to be proposed by March 2009, will regulate emissions from the nation’s more than 150 cement kilns.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Hanson Permanente Cement operates a kiln in Cupertino, California. This kiln is located within a major residential area in close proximity to several Cupertino schools. It is also located within five miles of the San Francisco Bay, which is currently contaminated with mercury. The Hanson Permanente kiln reported emitting a staggering 494 pounds of mercury pollution in 2006 to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory. EPA failed to include Hanson Permanente Cement in any of its information requests, leaving open the possibility that its mercury emissions could be even higher.

02/20/2007 EPA Do-Nothing Rule on Cement Kiln Mercury Pollution Ignores Court Order, Public OutcryEnvironmentalists challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest refusal to limit cement kilns’ mercury emissions late last week in a federal lawsuit against the EPA. Earthjustice is representing Sierra Club, Downwinders At Risk (Texas), the Huron Environmental Activist League (Michigan), Friends of Hudson (New York), Desert Citizens Against Pollution (California) and Montanans Against Toxic Burning in the lawsuit. New York state is also expected to challenge this rule in a separate lawsuit today.
12/11/2006 EPA Fails to Limit Toxic Mercury Pollution from Cement KilnsThe Bush Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency signed a rule late last Friday night that fails to control mercury pollution from any currently operating cement kilns, some of the nation’s worst mercury emitters. The agency’s action marks a clear and deliberate refusal by the Administration to obey orders from a federal court.

Lehigh Notices of Violations (NOV) News

04/17/2010 EPA report: Lehigh Cement near Cupertino violated Clean Air ActLehigh Southwest Cement Company could face fines and civil action after the Environmental Protection Agency said that changes in the late 1990s at its plant near Cupertino led to an increase in the amount of pollutants released into the air.
04/13/2010 Quarry, cement plant hit with more violationsThe Lehigh Southwest Cement Company again finds itself under increased scrutiny from regulatory agencies for excessive air and water pollution.  Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent Lehigh a notice of violation, saying it had failed to comply with “certain sections” of the Clean Air Act and requirements under its Title V operating permit.

Mercury Pollution News


High mercury level found in S.F. water supply

When researchers wanted to test largemouth bass at Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir for mercury levels, the reservoir’s managers in San Francisco figured the scientists were simply looking for a clean sample to compare with toxic results at other spots.

01/18/2010 Reduce mercury limit at Lafarge plantA citizens group formed to cut pollution from the Lafarge cement plant said a proposed first-ever state limit on mercury should be cut by more than half.
12/17/2009 Cement Factories Release Huge Quantities of Toxic Mercury Into the AirThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is targeting cement plants in California as a major source of mercury and other toxic emissions.
08/19/2009 Two studies show extent of mercury in environment and how it becomes toxicThe federal government is considering new rules to limit mercury emissions from cement kilns, which makes two new studies released this week timely.
04/21/2009 EPA Proposes to Slash Mercury Emissions from Cement PlantsEPA is proposing to significantly reduce mercury emissions from Portland cement kilns, the fourth-largest source of mercury air emissions in the U.S. The proposal would set the nation’s first limits on mercury emissions from existing Portland cement kilns and would strengthen the limits for new kilns.
07/23/2008 Mercury Pollution from Cement Kilns Double Previous EstimatesEarthjustice report reveals mercury pollution nearly twice what EPA previously thought
04/24/2008 Study links autism risk to distance from power plants, other mercury-releasing sourcesA newly published study of Texas school district data and industrial mercury-release data, conducted by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, indeed shows a statistically significant link between pounds of industrial release of mercury and increased autism rates.
02/08/2008 Court Says EPA Rule Allowing More Power Plant Mercury is IllegalA federal appeals court ruled this morning that a rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency violates the Clean Air Act by evading mandatory cuts in toxic mercury pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Pollution News

03/09/2011 Erin Brockovich back in Hinkley testing waterNow, Brockovich has returned to the town that made her famous and is once again rallying residents, sampling the water, and at a water board meeting on Wednesday, her associate is expected to announce that the contamination may be worse than the utility says.
12/14/2010 A Defining Moment for EPA and America’s HealthNew, hostile Congress readies attack on clean air standards
12/10/2010 More new cancer cases near cement plantPublic health experts have said more research is needed to determine why cancer rates are higher in the Hope, Caergwrle and Llanfynydd area near the Hanson cement plant in Flintshire.
12/08/2010 New Study Released On The Hidden Cost of Harmful Pollution to Downwind Employers and BusinessesA study issued today finds that pollution from coal-fired power plants that have failed to install pollution controls is costing businesses in affected states nearly $6 billion annually – about $17 million per day – because of higher labor and insurance costs, lost work days, and lost productivity.
10/10/2010 EDITORIAL: Obama, Congress show spilled integrity in policyOnce again, politics has trumped science. Actually, twice – twice this week we’ve seen reports of politicians balking when people trained to understand and evaluate complex environmental issues try to do their job.

Cement manufacturers made similar objections to tougher air quality standards for their plants, and the federal government backed off until a lawsuit forced the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with new standards. They became final in August, but if Congress is considering relaxing proposed standards for other industrial plants, it’s not a far stretch to suppose that politicians may find a way to exempt cement plants as well.


EPA Proposes Rules for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Extensive article)

EPA is proposing two rules to ensure that businesses planning to build new, large facilities or make major expansions to existing ones will be able to obtain Clean Air Act (CAA) permits that address their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the spring of 2010, EPA finalized the GHG Tailoring Rule, which specifies that beginning in 2011, projects that will increase GHG emissions substantially will require an air permit. These rules will help ensure that these sources will be able to get those permits regardless of where they are located.

The EPA estimates that cutting air pollution from cement kilns could result in up to 2,500 premature deaths avoided each year. The EPA also estimates benefits from cutting this air pollution of up to $18 billion annually, starting in 2013 when the rule takes effect.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Lehigh Southwest Cement Co., operates a kiln in Cupertino, California. The kiln reported emitting a staggering 587 lb of mercury pollution in 2008 to the EPA’s TRI, making it the nation’s 4th worst mercury-emitting cement kiln. This kiln is located within a major residential area in close proximity to several Cupertino schools. It is also located within five miles of the San Francisco Bay, which is currently contaminated with mercury.


TXI to keep Midlothian wet cement kilns closed

Texas Industries announced Tuesday that it will close all four of its wet-process cement kilns in Midlothian permanently, handing a victory to grass-roots opponents who had waged a lengthy fight over downwind pollution from the plants.

02/18/2010 Cement industry will spend $3.5 billion for air pollution control in 2010With China leading the way, the cement industry will invest more than $3.5 billion for air pollution control systems in 2010. Nearly 50 percent of this investment will be for fabric filters.
01/21/2010 United States Announces Two Major Clean Air Act New Source Review Settlements at 28 Industrial Plants NationwideThe United States today filed two major Clean Air Act settlements to reduce air emissions from container glass and Portland cement plants throughout the country, announced Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
01/21/2010 Senator Moves to Undermine Public Health Protections Under Clean Air ActAlaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is spearheading an effort to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb global warming pollution, a move that directly attacks the Clean Air Act, one of the most successful environmental laws of the past 40 years.
01/21/2010 Arm in arm with lobbyists, senator aims to gut landmark lawSen. Murkowski today declared her plan to exempt polluters from the Clean Air Act. She intends to use a little-known legislative maneuver to nullify the EPA’s recent determination that greenhouse gases threaten public health.
01/13/2010 Murkowski Guns for Clean Air ActSen. Lisa Murkowski is on a mission, legislative guns blazing, to shoot holes through the Clean Air Act—one of our nation’s strongest and most successful environmental laws. If she prevails, we may lose one of the best tools we have to reduce global warming pollution.
01/12/2010 Murkowski and lobbyists, take threeMore details have emerged about the involvement by two lobbyists–who were senior Environmental Protection Agency officials during the George W. Bush administration–in crafting an amendment Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) tried to offer in the fall in an effort to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases on its own.
01/11/2010 Murkowski and her lobbyist alliesSen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is likely to postpone offering an amendment (pdf) next week that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, according to sources familiar with the matter.
11/22/2009 What are the largest sources of global warming emissions in California? The list is outWhen it comes to global warming, California has started keeping score. The state Air Resources Board last week finished tallying and made public the list of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the state, and two East Bay refineries sit atop the list.

Technology News

01/28/2011 Australian Company Joins Race to Make ‘Green’ Cement From CO2An Australian cement and minerals company believes it has an answer to a problem that is vexing the experts — how to safely and effectively capture the carbon from a power plant at very low energy cost and high efficiency.
12/04/2010 New desal project unveiledPlans are under way for a desalination plant in Moss Landing that would use seawater from deep below the surface of Monterey Bay.
12/03/2010 Los Gatos green cement manufacturer to test product in Santa CruzThe Los Gatos startup that pledged to turn greenhouse gas into cement has landed its first job: a sidewalk in the city of Santa Cruz.
08/13/2010 Can ‘Green Cement’ Make Carbon Capture and Storage Obsolete?The conventional wisdom among utilities, the Obama administration, many scientists and some major environmental groups is that the future of coal-fired electricity under an eventual cap on carbon dioxide emissions will require an overhaul that will be technologically complicated, politically difficult and financially expensive.
07/20/2010 UC’s little-known Pavement Research Center results in smooth, safe and silent ridesPavement Research Center knows it’s done a good job when you don’t notice.

While the University of California is world-renowned in lofty fields like cosmology, nanosciences and stem cells, the innovations delivered from this little- known facility in a former 1950s-era munitions factory have a more far-reaching impact on a central part of our daily lives: roads.

05/31/2010 Calera Corporation’s presumed Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) ProcessCalera Corporation has made several high profile statements recently about their process to capture carbon dioxide (CO2), particularly from coal-fired power plants using seawater.
04/01/2010 From GHG to Useful MaterialsCould the transformation of carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbonates and oxides solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from fossil-fired power plants? Some companies are betting that such processes could make everyone happy and even create new profits.
12/10/2009 Bechtel and Calera Announce Strategic AllianceCalera Corporation and Bechtel Power Corporation today announced a strategic alliance to develop and construct facilities using carbon capture technology to reduce emissions and fight global warming.
10/15/2008 The Things We Don’t Know We Don’t KnowThe carcinogenic toxin chromium 6 may have been unwittingly produced at the Cemex plant in Davenport for the last seven years. Even scarier, it’s “highly possible” that chromium 6 continues to be produced across the country as an accidental, previously unknown byproduct of the cement-making process, according to Ed Kendig, the executive director of the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District.
09/02/2008 Green cement may set CO2 fate in concreteCall him cement man. Back when Stanford Professor Brent Constantz was 27 he created a high-tech cement that revolutionized bone fracture repair in hospitals worldwide. People who might have died from the complications of breaking their hips lived.  Fractured wrists became good as new.
11/08/2006 A Concrete Step Toward Cleaner AirVisitors to the Venice Biennale can check out the smog-eating cement that Italian inventors claim will help cities clean themselves.

That’s because parts of the concrete walls and grounds have been built with cement containing an active agent that, in presence of light, breaks air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, benzene, and others through a natural chemical process called photocatalysis.

Miscellaneous News

05/09/2011 Sunnyvale Pushing Hard to Move Into District 5 With Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo AltoThe city of Sunnyvale is making a major push to be included as a whole in county supervisorial District 5, because of its close ties to Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto, Sunnyvale officials said at a Citizens Redistricting Commission meeting on Thursday.

If Sunnyvale officials get their way, longtime District 5 cities, Cupertino and Saratoga, would find themselves in an entirely new district.

… Moylan shared an all-new map with commissioners that places Cupertino and Saratoga in District 1, which would include Los Gatos, then hug the western portion of San Jose and encompass the southernmost cities of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy. Campbell would remain in District 4, where it now sits.

02/11/2011 When Democracy WeakensAs the throngs celebrated in Cairo, I couldn’t help wondering about what is happening to democracy here in the United States. I think it’s on the ropes. We’re in serious danger of becoming a democracy in name only.
01/03/2011 100 Things To Shut The Hell Up About Before You Die: #7: The Republican PartyThe Republican party in America is a joke. Where once could be found conservative ideals, today there is only corporatism. The modern-day Republican party is little more than a brothel wherein greedy self-serving opportunists service their corporate masters.

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