May 1, 2008
Open House and Public Meeting Planned for Clear Creek Asbestos Health Risk Presentation
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host an open house and a public meeting May 8 in Santa Clara for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to present its human health risk assessment for asbestos exposure from recreational use of BLM’s Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA). BLM will also present information on its recent closure of about half the area in response to the findings.
EPA's assessment, released May 1, states that asbestos exposures measured by EPA for many recreational activities at CCMA are "above the EPA acceptable risk range of lifetime cancers," and also concludes that children "have greater risk than adults due to higher exposure measurements [and] are of special concern because their exposures occur earlier in their lives."
BLM issued an immediate temporary closure of 31,000 acres of the 63,000 acres of public lands in the CCMA, located in western Fresno and eastern San Benito counties, in response to the assessment, according to BLM Hollister Field Manager Rick Cooper. The EPA assessment is available online at www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/noa/clearcreek; the BLM closure order is at www.blm.gov/ca/hollister.
To better accommodate the public, the agencies plan to hold two sessions at the Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Parkway. From 3-5 pm, agency representatives will be available in an open house format, with information and maps for discussion with individuals. From 6-9 pm, there will be a public meeting in the auditorium where BLM will provide information on the closure and EPA will make a presentation on the assessment, with time allowed for the public to ask questions.
"We realize members of the public who visit Clear Creek will have concerns and questions about the human health risk assessment and closure order. This meeting will provide them a first-hand opportunity to hear the scientific information and ask questions of EPA and BLM representatives," said Cooper.
In addition, BLM also will host two public "scoping" meetings, one in Hollister on May 19, and one in San Jose on May 21, to work with interested parties in developing a range of alternatives for long-term management of the CCMA. These alternatives will be analyzed in a resource management plan and environmental impact statement for the area, all part of a "collaborative process that will take into account local, regional, and national concerns," Cooper said. Times and locations of these meetings are available on the BLM's website.