Jan and Dan Foster wrote a letter published June 12 that was headlined “Asphalt plant needs environmental review.”
They addressed their health and quality-of-life concerns regarding the expansion of the Hogan Quarry into a hot asphalt plant.
A rock quarry is one thing. I knew it was there when I bough t my house on Laurent Lane five years ago. A hot asphalt plant is something else altogether. I can assure you that I never would have made my purchase had I known that this expansion was in the offing.
Jan and Dan’s letter referred to “Valley Springs residents.”
To be fair, it is only about 20 homes (on Laurent Drive and Harper Street) that will be directly affected health-wise (others will be affected by noise and traffic). But before you skip on by this letter thinking, “not my concern,” I’d like to ask you how you would feel if it were your kids at risk.
These are not keyboard kids addicted to indoor video games. All of these kids (over 20 in total) are outdoorsy, athletic children at a vulnerable age (mostly 7 to 16). As I write this at 5 p.m. on June 11, it is 91 degrees. Yet the young boy at the end of Harper is outside on his trampoline, as he is every day. His house is closest to the quarry.
Next door to him, the little girl is doing her usual bike ride back and forth (and back and forth, again and again, almost like a rat in a maze) from the end of Harper to the end of Laurent, repeating endlessly. That little girl may grow up to be a cycling champion unless she
inhales too much particulate matter from hot asphalt discharge. The three other closest houses to the quarry all have multiple kids who play organized baseball. As a result, one of the dads has made his backyard into a regulation infield and they are out practicing all the time. The four younger boys on Laurent and two on Harper who hang together are always outside on bicycles or taking turns on that little go-cart. Another family has a pool that the kids all use.
I’m serving notice that if my quality of life (and health) are in any way affected by excessive smells, additional noise pollution or carbon pollution from excess trucking or particularly, floating particulate matter, that I will bring suit and force Hogan Rock Quarry to either cease and desist or buy me out at a price including my initial cost, the difference in what I will have to pay now to find a comparable, the cost of the time, effort and expenses that I have put into my current house and the costs of moving twice, plus an inconvenience fee.
Multiply that times 20 and that is your risk factor. I am old enough to remember Love Canal and it usually happens that the companies can’t pay when they change lives by polluting and the burden falls on the taxpayers. So everyone in this county has reason to question the risk versus the reward of this proposed expansion.
As such, I call on whoever approved this expansion to explain themselves on these pages within two weeks, because your job may be in jeopardy if you did not take into account what I have described about the neighborhood kids’ athletic habits and activities and the possible risk to the health of children with an active outdoor lifestyle.
Winds can be pretty strong around here. Did you even measure and assess those risks regarding airborne pathogens? When we ask you to produce any studies you made in this regard, will you have anything at all? That is, are you doing your job?
And then I call upon Hogan Quarry to reply on these pages and tell us what kind of guarantees you are willing to offer us. But really, this is a residential, not an industrial neighborhood.
I have no problem with Hogan Quarry harvesting rock at this site. I knew that when I bought my house. I put up with the dynamiting. Yeah, my whole house shakes and I wonder about the foundation, but this was a risk that I knowingly took. I am not knowingly taking the risks associated with your expansion.
Your future as a company and our futures as healthy, happy families may well depend on how accurate your information turns out to be and what decisions you choose to make regarding the risk that you are willing to take with the lives of these kids.
We await your responses.
Brock Estes is a resident of Valley Springs who drives a taxi in San Francisco on weekends. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.