Wednesday, August 31, 2011
A key vote today will decide if a huge rock quarry north of San Diego can go forward, but it faces strong opposition.
A key vote today will decide if a huge rock quarry north of San Diego can go forward; the Liberty Quarry faces strong opposition.
The Riverside Planning Department will take its final vote this afternoon on Granite Construction’s plan to open a major quarry on Interstate 15, south of Temecula.
Finding enough rock for future construction in San Diego County is becoming a critical issue. According to a report this year by the San Diego Association of Governments, the number of quarries in the county has fallen from almost 50 in 1980 to 16 now.
Courtney Coyle, attorney for the Pechanga Band of Indians, said the project is on sacred land.
“Over 75 years, this project would blast a hole 1,000 feet deep into the mountain, and it would disrupt the cultural practices of the tribe, because that is their Eden," she said. "That is the place where their first people were born, lived and died.”
The tribe is sponsoring state legislation to defeat the quarry.
The City of Temecula and environmental groups are also opposed, and previous planning meetings on the issue have drawn hundreds of people.
Granite Construction says the quarry will not be visible from interstate 15 and the impacts can be mitigated. They say if new sources of aggregate are not found, the cost of importing it will be high.
If the Riverside Planning Commission approves the project, it must still go to the Riverside Board of Supervisors for approval.