In a move the company says could be "devastating," the Lehigh Southwest Cement Permanente Quarry could lose its ability within the next 30 days to sell cement to some of its biggest customers—state and local governments—according to a notice sent to the company on July 20 by the state Office of Mine Reclamation (OMR).
Since Henry Kaiser bought the quarry in 1939, cement and rock from the Cupertino hillsides have helped build Shasta Dam, Highway 85, and scores of other public works projects throughout the region and state. The Lehigh website boasts that it provides more than 50 percent of the cement used in the Bay Area and Monday said 70 percent is used in Santa Clara County.
"We are in full compliance with the law," Lehigh said in a written statement Monday. "We have agreed to work with the Santa Clara County planning department—the lead agency in this matter—and have been doing so to their satisfaction for the duration the of the reclamation planning process."
That, apparently, has not been enough to meet the regulations of the state, however.
The letter took the county to task, for continuing to wait on Lehigh, five years past the compliance date.
According to the OMR notice, the quarry has been out of compliance with a reclamation plan since December 2007, as a result of unfixed landslides that occurred at the site more than 10 years ago.
It also asserts that during the period while Lehigh was supposed to be working on compliance, it has been dumping materials outside of its approved plan boundaries in the East Materials Storage Area, known as EMSA. That dumping has been at the center of controversy among citizen action groups for months.