Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Vulcan Nerve Pinching

Centinel noted last week that "Vulcan Materials Company was dubbed the most-admired building materials company in America by Fortune, in part for the company's 'social responsibility.'" Vulcan Materials, most recently in the Azusa and Claremont elections, is often publicly decried as the enemy by politicians in the foothill cities because, well, no one wants a mine in their town—especially if we are talking about an upper-middle class (and beyond) town that is trying to maintain that pristine sheen of green so essential to foothill city politics. [For one example of how all this works, check out the Claremonters Against Strip Mining website and then read the Claremont Insider's commentary on the subject.]

Reality being what it is, however, as Allison Hewitt recently reported in the SGV Trib (archived here), the demand for building material is growing fast while supply is shrinking and, says Hewitt, according to a recent report from the California Department of Conservation: "Over the next 50 years, the San Gabriel Valley will produce less than one-third of the sand and gravel that it needs for construction purposes." (A similar report and map said much the same thing last year).

The price of NIMBY-ism in this case is sharply increasing construction costs as you import the heavy material from further and further away. The result is increased costs to tax-payers when it comes to building roads and other local public projects as well as the further exacerbation of the already high cost of housing endemic to our area (to say nothing of increased exhaust from the trucks). You may be willing to pay these costs, but let's not pretend the issue is as simple as being "against" those intrinsically eeevuhl mines, or that environmental issues are somehow above the ambiguity and messiness of plain old politics.

In any event, also in the "what does Claremont think of that" category, I notice that Richard McLean of FoothillPages.com recently announced that the Irwindale Chamber of Commerce gave Vulcan Materials an award, as the company "sponsors Irwindale Educational Foundation scholarships every year and has been a recent benefactor to students at Lee Elementary School in Azusa, donating to students there and holding barbecues at the school."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This Tuesday, the Claremont City Council plans on making a wacky kind of move. They will not be making any ruling on Medical Marijuana. Instead, they will be introducing an ordinance regarding the prohibition of businesses that contravene state and/or federal law. Way to go Mayor Yao!

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