The Riverside County Planning Commission has recently revealed it is supporting the proposal to build a 135 acre gravel quarry in the hills above our city. This will require the commission to approve a noise ordinance exception as well as a surface mining permit.  According to the report, 

Workers at the quarry would make concrete and asphalt and use explosives to blast away millions of tons of tiny rocks known as aggregate, a common building material. The mine sought for land in the foothills between Temecula and San Diego County would operate for 75 years and give way to a man-made reservoir.

This is a dismal prospect. As I mentioned in a  previous post, My Entombing Behavior, toxins and microscopic dust particles from asphalt and aggregate fill our air and cause cancer in mice.

According to Dan Brunell, in his op-ed piece, “Location Not Suited for Quarry,”:

Whether or not the science behind the negative impact of crystalline silica or the diesel exhaust of legions of trucks is accurate, it simply doesn’t matter to me anymore.  It is clearly wrong to locate an open pit mine in the middle of a wind channel that feeds us with a clean ocean breeze and makes our valley what it is.

From my house, I will not be able to see this blasted pit. But I will be able to breathe in the pollution as I walk my children to school. I will hear the rumble of trucks chugging along the I-15 day and night, kicking up a tremendous amount of dust and making our entire valley hazier. The light pollution will make seeing the scant percentage of stars we see now even more rare. Plus, my husband and I will need to budget for monthly windshield replacement, as Damon’s had four dings in his front window in the past year alone–before the quarry.

To make matters worse, this project will sabotage our fragile wildlife and ecosystem and further endanger our environment in every way possible. Liberty Quarry’s plan to reduce the horrific ‘haze’ they create each day is to douse the area with water–450 gallons per minute, 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. This is insane!  This is Southern California. This is a desert.  We need that water for our lawns, pools, and hardscape fountains, folks!

Our children’s piano teacher and our friend, Susan Miyamoto, lives right next to the proposed quarry site. She and her husband have worked tirelessly trying to preserve their land. Her husband wrote an opinion piece for the local paper, which states that for them, this quarry is not some blight hidden behind a hill. It is their new next-door neighbor. 

It is appalling that our planning commission is giving the green-light to such an environmentally disastrous project. It is upsetting that Granite Construction is calling this hazard “Liberty” Quarry, as if to not support it is somehow unpatriotic. It is liberty that allows me to say that this dangerous, destructive, detrimental quarry is one more example of how our focus on the financial bottom line leaves us all in the dirt.