Dear Clean Environment Supporters,
On Thursday, July 28 BACE (Bay Area for Clean Environment) suffered a legal setback when a state appeals court upheld an earlier decision ruling that vested rights to conduct surface mining operations existed on much of Lehigh’s roughly 3,500 acre quarry in the hills west of Cupertino and Los Altos.
BACE filed a lawsuit on behalf of Santa Clara County residents following a February 8, 2011 decision by the County Board of Supervisors declaring that mining operations on 13 of 19 parcels of land qualified as legal nonconforming use. This meant that Lehigh could expand its operations into those parcels without public review and consideration of public health and welfare that a use permit and mining permit would require. (16 page court decision)
Obviously it is a disappointing ruling, but BACE remains committed to protecting citizens health, quality of life, and our local environment. The legal challenge that you all supported delayed any expansion at the quarry for more than five years and, more importantly, united neighboring cities in supporting our efforts for the first time. The Town of Los Altos Hills, City of Los Altos, Town of Portola Valley, and the City of Sunnyvale, joined the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Committee for Green Foothills, and Breathe California in an amicus brief supporting BACE’s appeal. Local communities and their elected officials are aware as never before of the presence and impact of this major industrial facility in our midst. But we have much more to do.
Our Work Continues.
Legal: BACE has a second lawsuit that will be heard by an appeals court next month. This case focuses on what BACE considers serious deficiencies in Lehigh’s current reclamation plan. (read our complaint)
Noise: BACE will be creating a petition on Change.org to support the City of Cupertino’s efforts to reduce the noise levels from Lehigh. If you hear a persistent humming, especially in the evening and at night please click here and sign our petition. You do not need to be a Cupertino resident to sign the petition. We need to send a clear message to Santa Clara County that regulates and enforces the noise ordinances.
Expansion: Finally, we need to prepare to fight any mining expansion by Lehigh. If you are deeply concerned about any expansion of surface mining in our local foothills please contact BACE. Write us a brief message about your concerns and how you might be willing to help with this particular issue. We will respond to every message.
Thank you for your continuing support.
— The BACE Team
Please forward this email to your friends, family, and neighbors.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian conducted a public informational meeting at the Cupertino Community Center to discuss the status of the various agency oversight the Lehigh Cement Plant and Quarry owned by HeidelbergCement.
An article from the Los Altos Town Crier summarized the questions and answers from this meeting.