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By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2015 (Lakeside)--El Monte Nature Preserve, LLC, the company that aims to sand mine El Monte Valley in Lakeside, a designated county scenic view corridor, for the next 30 years announced this week that it has entered into a sand extraction and marketing agreement with West Coast Sand and Gravel, Inc.

West Coast is headquartered in Buena Park, CA and has offices in San Diego County, where it deploys 62 trucks. West Coast supports concrete and asphalt producers and construction projects in the County by delivering aggregates to local job sites.

Ron Blair, El Monte's Senior Managing Partner stated, "West Coast prides themselves on the professional drivers, maintenance, cleanliness, and emission controls for their fleet of trucks. Their expertise and safety record in extracting aggregates at other sites in California is at the highest standard. This is a family owned business, sensitive to the concerns of local residents, and well suited to managing the traffic, noise, and other impacts facing the Lakeside Project. We could not be more pleased with the partnership we will have with West Coast."

By shipping aggregates out of the El Monte Valley, contractors and concrete manufacturers in the County will use an aggregate supply closer to job sites, reducing freight costs and traffic, he said, adding, “Once shipping begins at this site, West Coast will begin replacing sand and gravel imports from Riverside and Imperial Counties, eliminating approximately 4 million highway truck miles per year. This equates to 14,000,000 fewer pounds of CO2 emitted into the County's atmosphere each year. This is one way for the County to come closer to reaching its reduced carbon emissions goal."

The proposed project faces stiff opposition in Lakeside, where recent public meetings have drawn packed houses of residents overwhelmingly opposed to the projects. Residents cite concerns over noise, traffic, habitat destruction, negative impacts on equestrian businesses and trails, and health concerns including potentially deadly Valley Fever spores found in the valley’s soil that could be released by sand mining.

The El Monte Nature Preserve Project is a collaboration between The Endangered Habitats Conservancy and El Monte Nature Preserve, LLC. The group claims its long-term goal is to restore riparian habitat once mining is completed three decades or more from now.

El Monte Nature Preserve, LLC’s websiteis

Opponents have set up a Facebook page at