Mitsubishi Cement Expansion Draws Environmental Concerns

A proposal granting Mitsubishi Cement Corp. permission to build a 128-acre quarry and a 1.8-mile road on public land in the San Bernardino National Forest is being criticized by the Center for Biological Diversity, reported the San Bernardino County Sun.

“The proposed 120-year timeframe for the mine expansion is unreasonable, based on the fact that numerous conditions will change over that time period,” said Ileene Anderson, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Los Angeles.

Anderson noted that “[the] geologic timeline may work for mining, but it doesn’t work well for plants and animals that are already having to adapt to climate change, including the bighorn herd that will be impacted by this project and the numerous rare plants that can rely exclusively on the carbonate soils.”

The property is located on the north slope of the San Bernardino Mountains adjacent to existing Mitsubishi Cement operations, six miles south of the community of Lucerne Valley and west of Highway 18. Mitsubishi Cement has mining claims extending into 440 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest.

“Mitsubishi Cement has been a great asset to Lucerne Valley and the County of San Bernardino, offering much needed jobs and economic growth,” San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos, said in a statement. “As the process for the [environmental statements] adoption of the Mitsubishi Cement Corp. South Quarry project moves forward, I look forward to hearing the input from the public and reviewing the findings to make an informed decision once this comes before the Board of Supervisors.”

The National Forest and San Bernardino County are currently seeking public comment through Feb. 1 on the federal and state environmental documents. The draft of those documents and a page for comments can be found here.

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