Solaro swings asbestos decision |

Solaro swings asbestos decision

PLACERVILLE – After much debate Tuesday, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors passed Chairman Sam Bradley’s amended version of the Naturally Occurring Asbestos and Dust Protection Ordinance.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of the proposal.

Bradley, Dave Solaro and Penny Humphries voted in favor of the ordinance. Ray Nutting and J. Mark Nielsen opposed it.

Solaro, the South Shore representative who had voted both for and against the measure in past months, cited two reasons for his decision: The ordinance matches the 5 percent state asbestos test sampling standards, and it establishes a degree of accountability for those who run the risk of making asbestos dust airborne.

The original ordinance called for a 1 percent standard.

Emotions surged during public commentary.

Proponents of the ordinance said its passage would heighten public awareness about the asbestos issue in El Dorado County.

Opponents protested there is no significant evidence that a problem exists and that the ordinance was unnecessary.

El Dorado County residents cited the recent discovery of cancer-causing asbestos found late last month in an El Dorado County subdivision and the neighboring Oak Ridge High School and community center. The health advisory notice El Dorado County officials sent out Dec. 29 to inform the community of the substance, “said nothing,” according to Ray Oliva, a concerned citizen.

He said the motion should be recognized as a health ordinance, not just a construction ordinance.

“Why are there are so many health notices if there isn’t a problem?” he asked.

Brian Reed, who lives near the high school, wanted to know how enforcement would differ from years past.

Bradley responded, “If you have a concern, call us. Any one of us.”

Jeff Shurtz, a 20-year resident of Garden Valley, said the issue is nothing more than a bunch of scare tactics.

Jack Enzler said,”I liken this whole thing to the Salem Witch Hunt.”

Larry Weitzman, a Placerville Mountain Democrat columnist, likened the ongoing controversy to a “bureaucratic quagmire,” if the county bases its decision on “bad science.”

Terry Trent doesn’t think it’s bad science at all. Two years ago he took samples from the Oak Ridge High School area and said, “It is built on a tremolite deposit.”

He reported thousands of fibers measuring about 2 inches in length had been brought to the surface by gophers.

Art Marinaccio, a land-use consultant representing Sierra Rock, told the board he wanted the original Sep. 28 version to be passed. “There are a lot of problems with the proposed ordinance.”

He has repeatedly expressed his concern regarding the lack of input from the mining industry. “I urge you to put a stop to this process,” Marinaccio said.

David Siderquist, a member of Surveyor’s, Architects, Geologists, and Engineers, said his organization was “very, very close,” to making its recommendation to the board.

Nielsen said at the Dec. 14 meeting when the vote was delayed that he wanted to wait for SAGE’s report before voting on the ordinance.

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