Lehigh begins application process for new mine

Aerial view of the Lehigh Permanente Quarry

Lehigh Hanson has begun the application process to open a new mine at its site in the Santa Clara County hills west of Cupertino.

The company, which been permitted to mine at its current Permanente Quarry site since 1939, has begun the pre-application process with Santa Clara County officials.

“Lehigh has begun the pre-application process with the County,” said Erika Guerra, Environmental Director for Lehigh Hanson. “There will be an application followed by a robust environmental review, community outreach process and formal consideration of the application.”

According to documents made public recently, Santa Clara County Department of Planning staff met with Lehigh representatives on April 2nd, to discuss Lehigh’s application, which has yet to be formally filed.

The application, if approved, would allow for a second quarry pit to continue mining operations as it works to meet the strong market demand for locally-sourced cement.

In addition to opening the new mining site, Lehigh’s application would allow it to extract and grade in tiers along the northern ridgeline of the site’s existing quarry pit. Lehigh is also seeking to begin reclamation of its current quarry site, while executing reclamation plans concurrent with mining operations at its new site.

10 Comments on "Lehigh begins application process for new mine"

  1. This is great news! The fact that the natural resource, Franciscan limestone, still exists in sufficient quantity to make mining financially feasible bodes well for the cost of cement in the near to distant future. This is a high grade mine that in the ’70’s was not expected last past 2020. I’m sure there will be requirements attached to the approval of the permit that will further regulate the amount of airborne particulates and pollutants that are produced along with operating hours. The trucks that haul the cement will also most likely be more tightly regulated to minimize dust and brake noise. But these are obstacles that can be overcome. Approve! Approve! Approve!

  2. Cupertino Resident | April 23, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Reply

    No Please STOP. This is so close to residential area and you are killing us. We assume that there will be regulations that will have the right checks and balances in place but trust me… residents know better. PLEASE someone STOP this.

  3. Now it is 2019, then it WAS 1939. I am not sure that a cement started back in 1939, is suitable for highly populated cities such as Cupertino, Los Altos that are around the cements plants. I do not believe it is a great news even if I am in construction business.

  4. There is no problem with this mine in Cupertino. And the reclaimed land might make a great neighborhood, as long as we don’t let the NIMBY control things. Lehigh has been here longer that most of us have been alive. Making cement locally is greener that shipping it in from around the world.

    Apple used their land to build offices (when what we need are residences!) People build homes on their land. Why can’t Lehigh keep a mine open on their land!

  5. Frankly Speaking | May 18, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Reply

    Lehigh was here first. It’s not fair to build a lot of houses next to a cement plant and cement kiln and then say, “Hey, this is a residential neighborhood and you have to shut down that plant!” Lehigh produces 70% of the cement used in Santa Clara County and more than 50% of the cement used in the ENTIRE BAY AREA. If Lehigh is shut down or even if it can’t significantly expand its operations, construction costs will rise significantly in the Bay Area.

    We’re talking about millions of tons of concrete. It is very expensive to ship it from far away locations – it uses enormous amounts of fuel.

    Yes, there may be a little dust here and there, but people aren’t going to live forever anyway. If people don’t want to live near a giant cement quarry and kiln, they could have bought houses someplace else – or they can move now. It’s not a secret it’s there. If you look at Google Maps Satellite view, the two quarries take up probably a third of Cupertino. It’s like moving next to the Grand Canyon and then pretending you didn’t see it there and complaining that someone needs to fill it up RIGHT NOW.

    There aren’t a huge number of houses right near there. The idea that a few thousand people can interfere with the operation of a cement quarry and kiln that provides cement for HALF of ALL newly constructed houses, office buildings, schools, highways, bridges, etc. in the ENTIRE Bay Area for about 10 MILLION people is crazy.

    It’s like moving next to a nuclear power plant and then saying you want it shut down because it’s next to your house. Sheesh.

  6. Community Citizen | May 29, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Reply

    The pollution that Lehigh produces is an injustice to our community, not just neighboring communities but all of Santa Clara County. They are one of the leading polluters, ranking eighth in total emissions amongst industrial sites in the Bay Area, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency and #1 industrial polluter of greenhouse omissions in Santa Clara county, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD).

    Yes, Lehigh was here long before many of us. They started when Santa Clara County less than 200k residences. Quite a different time from today, where we are 2.9M + residences. One could claim that in hindsight it was a shame that planning departments allowed homes to be built so close to a major polluter. Or one could say it’s a shame they continue allow a polluter to live in our backyard. I would claim the latter. It’s time to change.. evolve with the times. It’s time for Lehigh to reclaim the land they have mutilated and move their operations elsewhere, somewhere not so close to neighborhoods, families, schools, rivers and streams and reservoirs.

  7. Frankly Speaking | June 1, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Reply

    The main problem is that a small group of people are irritated by it. 95 percent of the folks living in Cupertino mostly care that people PERCEIVE it as comfortable, wealthy, exclusive, having good schools, etc. I’ve talked to many people in Cupertino who would rather no one talked about Lehigh because the problem isn’t the pollution, it’s knowing about the pollution.

    Lehigh and BAAQMD mostly solved this problem by putting an air quality monitoring station in Cupertino right next to this giant cement quarry and cement kiln with thousands of diesel trucks coming and going every week and digging in the quarry, the kiln cooking tons of rocks down into cement dust, etc. and the monitoring station found that the air quality right next to the quarry and its kiln was just great! This was, interestingly, at the same time that the CEO of Lehigh was on the board of BAAQMD. I have no idea whether this influenced anything. I don’t know if the monitoring station monitored around-the-clock seven days a week, or if they took measurements periodically and Lehigh knew when those measurements took place and could have at least theoretically throttled the kiln and/or digging, diesel truck activity, etc.

    But the point is that none of that matters. The fact that the monitoring station said that the air right next to the quarry and kiln was like backpacking in the Sierras – better than San Jose – it did the trick. A lot of people in Cupertino said, “there, see, we even have better air than San Jose! Such a powerful and desirable community!” Ultimately, that’s what’s important. The vast majority of Cupertino residents work in the tech industry where the dominant activity is supplanting the real with the virtual. To think that this way of thinking and being does not permeate every aspect of a person’s life and a community’s culture is foolish.

    The vast majority of people living in Cupertino don’t think about Lehigh and don’t care about Lehigh. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most Cupertino residents would be angrier at someone for drawing attention to this and diminishing the community’s prestige than that it exists in the first place.

    And so, again, the solution is for the small number of people who this bothers a lot to move. Everyone else is perfectly happy here because they don’t think about it.

  8. Frankly Concerned | June 7, 2019 at 10:35 am | Reply

    This site is a joke. #fakenews.

  9. Oswald Fernandez | August 26, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Reply

    It is not the dust,is the constant low humming noise.It comes thru walls and windows 24/7.For some reason today in not there.Ozzie

  10. I just moved near Cupertino heels, lower side. I couldn’t believe the number of trucks passing by Stevens Canyon road. A truck goes by every few minutes. Heavy dust builds on patio and inside furniture in few days. Thank god I’m renting and did not buy here 🙁

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