Vulcan draws Duarte's ire
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Council vexed by mining company
By Emanuel Parker , Staff Writer
DUARTE -- A spokesman for Vulcan Materials Co. drew boos and hisses at Tuesday's Duarte City Council meeting when he said the company is not likely to do additional reclamation work at its mine if a plan to dig on 80 additional acres is rejected. Jim Gore, Vulcan's project manager, said the company will not do the additional reclamation work, called sculpting, "unless we get something for it.'
"That sounds like green blackmail,' said Duarte Mayor Margaret Finlay.
Vulcan, which operates the Azusa Rock quarry, wants to expand its mining operations in the foothills above Azusa by 80 acres. The site is near the border of Duarte and Azusa, but only Azusa officials can approve or kill the plan.
Duarte officials and residents say the expansion would fill the city with dust, noise and particulate pollution and also lower their property values.
The City Council asked Gore to show slides of how the new mining site would look from Duarte, and the before-and-after photos showed minimal scarring and a lush and green site after reclamation.
But Councilwoman Lois Gaston peppered Gore with questions about how long it would take the site to fully recover, and Gore said it could take 10 to 15 years "for full, mature vegetation' to appear.
"It's like recovering from a (forest) fire,' he said.
Robert Person, Azusa assistant city manager, told the council Vulcan has not formally requested the expansion and has indicated it will not do additional reclamation on mined areas unless its expansion is guaranteed.
"So Vulcan has not got an inalienable right to the 80 acres,' said Councilman John Fasana.
But Gore said Vulcan will not walk away from the mining operation even if the expansion plan is rejected. He said the company plans to mine there until its current conditional use permit expires in 2038.
Council members and residents who spoke at the meeting directed their anger at Vulcan and Azusa officials.
"You've got to be considerate of your neighbors, and you haven't been for some time,' Councilman Phillip Reyes said to Gore. "You've not been a good neighbor.'
Duarte resident Daniel Hyke said San Gabriel Valley residents should boycott Azusa businesses to force its City Council to reject the expansion.
"Mining underground and in pits is one thing,' Hyke said. "But when you start tearing down mountains, you have to ask are we going to put up with this? It's hurt Azusa already and now it's going to hurt Duarte.'
"Azusa takes care of Azusa only,' said Duarte resident Ernie Martinez, "and to heck with others.'
Duarte resident Dede Stokes said Vulcan should cease its mining operations and turn the site into a park for San Gabriel Valley residents.
Emanuel Parker can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4475, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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