Lehigh Cement files suit over new reclamation plan

Lehigh Cement files suit over new reclamation plan
Published: 24 August 2011

The Lehigh Southwest Cement Company is going to the courts to help stave off a decree from the state that could have barred the sale of products from the cement quarry to state and local governments.

The company is challenging the California Department of Conservation’s request for a new reclamation plan by seeking a temporary restraining order enjoining the department from removing Lehigh from the AB 3098 list, an official listing of mines in California that meet the requirements of the state’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act.

On July 20, the Department of Conservation issued a 30-day notice that would remove the quarry from the AB 3098 list. Entities on the list are allowed to supply mined materials to state and local public projects.

The stern 30-day notice to Lehigh came as a result of the company and Santa Clara County’s inability to finalize a new reclamation plan on the company’s mining site located in unincorporated county land near Cupertino. A reclamation plan would see a restoration on portions of the mined land, and any surface mining operation conducted without an approved reclamation plan is in violation of the State Mining and Reclamation Act.

The lawsuit effectively suspends the department’s 30-day notice, which passed in mid-August. In the meantime, the company will continue to sell products unearthed from its cement quarry until a legal decision is made. The case is expected to be heard in January.