8 of 10 most polluted cities are in California

In the American Lung Association‘s annual “State of the Air” report released in April 2018, eight of the USA’s ten cities with the worst air pollution are in California.  According to the USA Today write-up on the report, “about 133 million Americans — more than four of 10 — live with unhealthful levels of air pollution, placing them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage and developmental and reproductive harm. ‘We still have a lot to do in this country to clean up air pollution,’ said Lyndsay Moseley Alexander, director of the Association’s Healthy Air Campaign.  The report looked at pollution levels from 2014 to 2016. Ozone pollution was worse overall in this report than it was in last year’s report.”

On the Report Card, Mountain View is not listed by Santa Clara gets a C rating for Particulate Pollution and an F for Ozone Pollution.

USA Today quotes Lung Association President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer in explaining that “near record-setting heat from our changing climate has resulted in dangerous levels of ozone in many cities across the country, making ozone an urgent health threat for millions of Americans.” Smog forms on warm, sunny days and is made worse from chemicals that exit vehicle tailpipes and from power plant and industrial smokestacks. Warmer temperatures make ozone more likely to form.  “This adds to the evidence that a changing climate makes it harder to reduce ozone pollution and protect human health,” Alexander said.

Lehigh Cement Plant and Quarry Community Meeting

The 3rd Annual Community Meeting regarding Lehigh Cement Plant and Quarry is approaching. Here are the details:

Host: County Supervisor Joe Simitian

Date: Thursday, February 15, 2018

Time: 7:00 – 9:00 P.M.

Location: Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Avenue, Cupertino

Officials from various different agencies will be in attendance to answer questions from Supervisor Simitian and the public to answer questions related to Lehigh.  The previous meeting was held over a year ago and very well attended.  The video of that meeting is below.

Letter to BAAQMD on Regulation 11, Rule 18 by Gary Latshaw, Ph.D.

This is a letter from Gary Latshaw, Ph.D. to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors regarding Regulation 11, Rule 18.

Latshaw Letter 11-18 as Submitted 10-9-2017 email removed

Download the PDF here.

Fourth Annual Report on Quarry Reclamation

On June 26, 2012, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved the 2012 Reclamation Plan Amendment (referred to as RPA) for the Quarry. RPA Condition of Approval #8 requires that the County prepare an Annual Report summarizing compliance with the RPA and the associated conditions of approval.
This is the fourth Lehigh Permanente Quarry RPA Annual Report (AR4) and provides public documentation of Quarry compliance for the monitoring period 2015-2016. Section 1 provides an introduction and overview of the content of AR4. A description of current operations at the Quarry is provided in Section 2. Section 3 provides a summary of compliance with the conditions of approval, with additional information regarding compliance (aerials, maps, site inspection information, and technical reports) provided in Appendices A through E. Lehigh is currently in compliance with the 2012 Reclamation Plan Conditions of Approval and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program. Documentation of condition of approval compliance, as well as the previous annual reports, can be found on the County’s website at http://www.sccgov.org.

Mercury News Coverage of the Lehigh Information Session

As reported by the Mercury News in their article entitled Cupertino: Residents get update on Lehigh Cement Plant from Supervisor Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian hosted the second annual community meeting on Nov. 16, 2016 to update area residents about the Lehigh Cement Plant, located close to Cupertino and many surrounding communities. 

In addition to more than a hundred residents attending, the meeting was attended by representatives from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health, Santa Clara County Planning and Development Department, Santa Clara Valley Water District, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Santa Clara County Counsel and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In 2014, Simitian first requested an increase in oversight of Lehigh, whose cement quarry and plant are located in the foothills of unincorporated Santa Clara County just outside Cupertino city limits and city jurisdiction.  The meeting was designed to allow all of the agencies to talk with each other and answer residents’ questions and concerns.

As reported by the Mercury, “most questions from residents centered on environmental concerns related to the facility: water pollution, air pollution and particulates in the air.”

Simitian asked Wayne Kino, director of compliance and enforcement with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, if a new stack that was installed at the cement facility is helping with air quality. Lehigh converted its more than 32 stacks into a single stack, Kino told the audience.

“What the stack did for us, and for you, was put all emissions into one location where Lehigh could install monitors to monitor what is coming out of their process,” he said. “In that, it gave us certainty in what is coming out.”

Kino said overall, the emissions situation at Lehigh is better than it was last year. He said the new stack is also higher, which causes more dispersion and waft, meaning fewer emissions reach the ground level.

As far as particulate matter settling on cars in neighborhoods near the facility, Kino said Lehigh developed a dust mitigation plan, and a “fugitive dust rule” is also in the works for the Bay Area at large, which would affect Lehigh. He said much of the dust is probably caused by trucks hauling materials in and out of the facility. He added that particulate matter can be a health risk to susceptible individuals such as children and seniors.

Some residents claimed that noise from Lehigh has increased since the new stack went in, especially between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Michael Balliet, director of the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health, said since January, the department has gone to Lehigh 10 times to monitor noise levels in neighborhoods around the plant.

Two of those times, the facility was in violation, and the department issued citations.

So, there is some good progress but a lot more left to accomplish. These agencies only seem to act in response to pressure from the community.

To read the full Mercury article by , click here:Cupertino: Residents get update on Lehigh Cement Plant from Supervisor Simitian.