Yesterday officials in Riverside County heard hours of testimony on one of the most contentious projects ever proposed for the area—a large granite quarry. A company called Granite Construction wants to build an open pit quarry on 135 acres between Temecula and San Diego County. They say the project will bring in high-paying jobs and millions of tax dollars to the area and, oddly, improve air quality. As it is trucks are already rumbling through the area picking up and dropping off a building material called aggregate, if the quarry was right there they’d drive less and spew fewer diesel fumes into the atmosphere. Not surprisingly citizens of the area and environmentalists are not on board. They say the quarry will be a huge, pollution spewing blight on a beautiful landscape. Oh, and, it’s on a site sacred to the Pachanga band of Luiseno Indians. Critics also point out that the exhaustive 6,800 page environmental study that concluded that the quarry would be a fine addition to neighborhood was written by consultants hired by Granite Construction. Which side wins here? The company bringing jobs and tax dollars to an area that can sorely use both? Or those trying to protect unspoiled and important southern California acreage?
Matt Rahn, Professor in Environmental Science at San Diego State University; Director for Research and Education Programs at San Diego State University
Gary Johnson, Project Manager, Granite Construction Inc.