|12-09-2004, 03:14 PM||#1|
Joined: Aug 2001
Location: San Francisco
The SF Chronicle takes a poke at Clear Creek
I read the EPA report refered to in the article. It's not nearly as bad as she makes it out to be. More BS.........
Asbestos concerns at dirt-bike area
Maria Alicia Gaura, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, December 9, 2004
Officials should consider restricting or cutting off access to one of the most popular dirt-biking areas in California because riders are being exposed to high levels of naturally occurring asbestos, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The thousands of off-road enthusiasts who roar over 50,000 barren acres of the Clear Creek Management Area are being exposed to asbestos levels as high as nine times the allowable maximum in the workplace, the EPA said.
The Bureau of Land Management, which runs the site 55 miles south of Hollister, should consider closing Clear Creek to all visitors until health hazards can be studied more thoroughly, the EPA said last week.
Two environmental groups have also sued to temporarily ban off-road vehicles from Clear Creek, saying dirt bikers are crushing a small, endangered primrose that grows there.
Clear Creek contains one of the largest naturally occurring asbestos deposits on Earth, and the land is dotted with abandoned asbestos and mercury mines. Visitors entering Clear Creek's 30,000-acre "red zone" see signs warning of asbestos exposure.
But many bikers shrug off the warnings, and few bother with lung protection, even for children. Some believe that the asbestos at Clear Creek is harmless or that the risk has been overstated.
The EPA sent off-road riders into Clear Creek in September fitted with air-sampling devices. The tail rider in a group of three motorcyclists was exposed to 0.955 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter, compared with the allowable workplace level of 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter, the agency said.
While additional air tests are planned, the EPA said the "potential for significant health impacts" could warrant closing Clear Creek at least during the dry season, when the dust is up.
Other measures worth considering, according to the EPA, include limiting the number of days per year a person may visit Clear Creek; requiring an informed consent waiver; restricting access by children; banning camping in the red zone; or requiring respirator use for all visitors.
The EPA also urges that measures be taken to prevent visitors from tracking asbestos-laden dirt into restaurants, cars and homes.
The agency performed the tests as part of a broader environmental study of Clear Creek being run by the Bureau of Land Management.
Robert Beehler, field manager for the bureau's Hollister office, said he planned to post the EPA's new asbestos data on the agency Web site as well as in a monthly bulletin sent to regular users. But he said the bureau had no immediate plans to limit access.
"The EPA information isn't exactly a shocking revelation," Beehler said. "When it's dry and dusty out there, the asbestos levels are higher. We are trying to inform people before they get out there, as well as on the site."
Longtime Clear Creek rider Ed Tobin said the new information didn't impress him in the least.
"In my opinion the EPA is an organization with a bunch of fanatics who believe that one asbestos fiber will kill you, like a silver bullet," Tobin said. "I'm very skeptical of any work they produce. They have an agenda, and that is to shut us down.
"I've been riding out here for 30 years," Tobin said. "And I'm not dead yet."
The EPA isn't the only group looking to limit access to Clear Creek. The California Native Plant Society and the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit in federal court last month demanding that the Bureau of Land Management block motor traffic until it acts to protect the threatened San Benito evening primrose.
The groups say that about two-thirds of the area's colonies of the primrose have been harmed by off-road activity, and that one colony of 1,476 plants was wiped out by off-road drivers between 2000 and 2003.
Native Plant Society spokeswoman Emily Roberson said the lawsuit had been filed after more than 20 years of trying to negotiate an acceptable plant protection plan with the bureau.
"We are very sorry that it came to litigation," Roberson said. "Our goals are to work with the BLM and find ways to protect the rare plants, while allowing off-road vehicle use to resume in areas where it doesn't pose a risk (to rare plants)."
E-mail Maria Alicia Gaura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
R-dubb screwed with this post 12-09-2004 at 04:12 PM
|12-09-2004, 03:59 PM||#3|
Joined: Aug 2001
Location: San Francisco
Here's the EPA letter for anyone interested. I get letters like this frequently for proposed housing developments. This one is fairly tame by comparison.
The background is that BLM is in the midst of drafting an EIR that will determine how much of the area and which trails are open for use during which seasons, etc. So far it looks to me like BLM is fairly commited to keeping many or most of the trails open. There will be many compromises before its over. I just hope some court does not decide to shut all 50,000 acres down entirely. It is the biggest OHV preserve accessible for day trips from the Bay Area.
|12-09-2004, 04:03 PM||#4|
finger lickin' good
Joined: May 2003
I wonder if the EPA has ever checked the pachouli level at the California Native Plant Society meetings. I hear it is toxic. Maybe we should sue to have it banned.
They take it way one step at time. Fockers! Freedom Riders Unite
I'd rather do it than watch it.
Those of you with spouse and SO's know this already, but man give them a big hug, and don't take anything foregranted. - MACK RIP
When 51% of the grasshoppers vote, the ants are screwed.
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|