COUNTY TAKES A CLOSER LOOK AT LEHIGH QUARRY CLEAN-UP COSTS
SAN JOSE – Today the County’s Housing, Land-Use, Environment and Transportation Committee directed staff to move forward with securing the services of Lilburn Corporation to provide technical expertise in reviewing the estimated costs to clean-up the quarry site and restore the land at Lehigh’s Permanente Quarry in the hills outside Cupertino.
County Supervisor Joe Simitian, Vice Chair of the Committee said, “The people I represent want to know that we’ve dotted every i and crossed every t, and that the money we need to clean-up and restore the land will be there when the time comes. They don’t want to see the public left holding the bag for cleaning-up the quarry once the mining is done.”
State law requires that annually the County review these clean-up costs, known by the acronym of FACE (Financial Assurance Cost Estimate). The estimate looks at the cost of cleaning up the quarry according to the process set forth in the quarry’s approved Reclamation Plan. The Reclamation Plan is required by State law, and details how the site will be reclaimed and restored when mining is over.
In this case, Lehigh currently has bonded for just over $62M to ensure there are funds in-hand to clean-up the quarry at the end of its lifespan. Things like inflation and changes in technology, however, can affect the clean-up price tag over time.
“It can only be helpful to have a second set of eyes looking at the financial estimates Lehigh has submitted. The closure plan is complicated, and it’s implemented over a number of years; it’s important that we get this right. And on something like this, outside expertise is particularly important.”
Lilburn Corporation is an environmental consulting firm with expertise in providing services to the mining industry and Lead Agencies, like Santa Clara County, for implementing the State Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA), the state law that governs quarry operations and closure. Lilburn has provided consulting services for SMARA compliance throughout California for more than 40 years.