Public response could delay Cupertino permit process

Public response could delay Cupertino permit process
Published: 01 October 2009

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District could delay until December a decision about whether Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant should have its permit renewed.

The possible delay would be a response to an overwhelming community response to the renewal. At a meeting earlier this month, dozens of Cupertino residents stepped up to the microphone to vent their frustration with having the plant as a neighbor and asked that the plant not have its Title V permit renewed.

The district had planned to decide whether to renew the permit by the end of October, but might delay that until December so it has time to consider all public comments. The Title V Permit is a compilation of all existing air-quality requirements including emissions limits and standards, monitoring, record keeping, and reporting requirements and is required for the plant to continue operations at the site. Permit renewal is required every five years.

Complaints about the plant centered around dust, noise, odors, limestone dust on cars and fears about the potential long-term health issues for living close to the facility.

Some residents pleaded with air district staff to consider postponing the permit until new studies about the potentially harmful affects of some pollutants are more clearly studied. A few residents who live near the facility argued that they were better judges of facility compliance than state and country regulators.