PG&E RUNS AMUCK
IN NEWBERRY SPRINGS


County again turns a blind eye to illegal zoning violations.

Continued dumping of everything in Newberry.

Posted: August 5, 2018

A major public menace and nuisance.

    As many in Newberry Springs know by now, having seen or having been negatively impacted by it, a major new activity is taking place adjacent the local Post Office.

    The northeast corner of National Trails Highway and Newberry Road has been taken over by a contracting crew performing major maintenance work on Pacific Gas & Electric's natural gas pipeline that feeds the Bay Area.  The main contractor appears to be Barnard of Bozeman, Montana, with subcontractor Abercrombie Pipeline Services, Inc., also of Bozeman, Montana.  Other contracting entities appear to have also signed on.

    Reportedly, the contractor has acquired a one-year agreement to use the land from the owner, Wesley Sperry, of Newberry Springs.  The work is expected to last roughly 6-plus months.

    With disregard to the Newberry community, the contractor has just moved in without any county permits and has apparently illegally graded the land and ignored the zoning and federal highway regulations.

    The illegal grading is resulting in major dust plumes.  The plumes will not likely be resolved during the term of the lease which may leave the property owner legally responsible for all of the future long-term costs of remedy and legal liabilities.

    As dust plumes can quickly reduce the visibility to zero on the adjacent Interstate-40 and local roadways, the involved parties, including the County of San Bernardino, are facing tremendous liability from any accidents that may be attributed to the blinding plumes.

    Parcel map of the involved land sandwiched between I-40 and National Trails Highway.

    This photograph was taken on July 11, 2018, of a large dust plume emanating solely from Wesley Sperry's parcels.  It blankets National Trails Highway and the adjacent residential neighborhood.  This is despite claims that Barnard has been taking serious measures to prevent such dust from blowing from the site.

    Visibility on National Trails was reduced to near zero from thick dust and sand blowing off of Wesley Sperry's property.  The Sperry site also abuts Interstate-40.  If the moderate wind was from the south or was the prevailing southwest wind, the plume would have blanketed the Interstate possibly leading to numerous deaths.  Despite multiple contacts, the County has failed to adequately respond to the urgency of this existing hazard.

    As clearly shown in this photograph, with the wind blowing from the north, the dust is clearly starting just south of I-40 on the Sperry parcel.  When notified of such a health and safety issue, the county holds a responsibility to immediately act.  Its failure to do so places it as a contributing factor to any future injury.

    Despite regular water truck watering of the Sperry site, little effective benefit is shown as the deadly dust blankets National Trails and the adjacent neighborhood.

    Origination of the dust is clearly inside the fence line of the illegally graded parcels.

    As the wind lessens to a breeze, some of the parked equipment become visible.  The illegal grading will likely continue to be a long-term health hazard long after the current contractor leaves the community.

    Currently, no plan exists to remedy the hazard after the contractor leaves.

    The dust plumes and association health hazards highlight the major issues of the proposed disturbance of 5.5-square miles of desert topsoil for the proposed solar facilities in Daggett and Newberry Springs.

 

Subject: Illegal Grading
To: Julie.Hernandez@lus.sbcounty.gov
Cc: "Bart Brizzee" <bbrizzee@cc.sbcounty.gov>
Date: Jun 29, 2018 1:42:59 PM

June 29, 2018
 
Julie Hernandez, Deputy Chief
Land Use Services Code Enforcement
385 N. Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0187
              
Sent via e-mail: Julie.Hernandez@lus.sbcounty.gov
 
Dear Ms. Hernandez,
 
Last Tuesday night, June 26, 2018, in Newberry Springs, during a normal light wind, I was surprised to have an unusual amount of blowing dust covering my property.  I could taste it which was unusual.  It wasn't until the following day that a neighbor reported witnessing the dust blowing off of a recently graded large parcel of land located at the northeast corner of National Trails Highway and Newberry Road.  This is located approximate 1 1/2-miles west of my residence.
 
That day, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, I visited the site and spoke with the supervisor, Sam Cox.  The site is being occupied for PG&E which has reportedly leased the undeveloped site for one year to store equipment for a pipeline inspection, testing, and replacement project.
 
 
Portions of the property have received substantial grading while other portions have simply been skimmed.  Regardless, the desert topsoil has been disturbed.  I have previously driven over a portion many times as a back road use to lead out from the adjacent Post Office.  I am knowledgeable about the terrain that previously existed on the property.
 
 
Mr. Cox claimed that no grading was done, only a light dragging of the surface to remove vegetation.  He acknowledged that his company has not acquired any grading permits and has not presented any reports to the community.  This site is at a key intersection of our rural, residential community.
 

The area behind the grader has been leveled.
 
Although the property is being watered by a water truck, it is only partially effective.  Attached (below) is a photograph taken Thursday, June 28, during a light wind estimated at 25-MPH.  The photograph was taken facing in an easterly direction with the subject site in the foreground.  The photograph shows the dust blowing from the site.
 
 
 
PM10 dust and smaller particle matter become suspended in air.  When breathed in, it has the same effect on the lungs as asbestos.  As I am very sensitive to such dust, I do not want to have this dangerous health hazard impacting myself and my property and I wish the county to immediately place a Cease-and-Desist Order upon the operation as an unauthorized Public Health nuisance and further have the soil properly chemically treated immediately to prevent further dust migration.
 
This is a MAJOR industrial operation in which the parcel IS NOT zoned for!  No permits to my knowledge have been acquired nor community given notice.
 
As public health is at stake, time-is-of-the-essence.  Please act quickly on this matter.
 
Please acknowledge receipt of this e-mail.
 
Ted Stimpfel
Newberry Springs
 
 
 

Should you favor more news blogs,
please visit and LIKE our Facebook site.

Click here to read, "Like,"
comment, or share on:
Newberry Springs

Follow us on Twitter and
be notified of new stories:
Newberry Springs Community Alliance

Home page: http://NewberrySpringsInfo.com