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Temecula Residents Face Off With Union Workers Over Proposed Strip Mining Project

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TEMECULA (CBS) — Hundreds of people in colorful green and orange shirts showed up in force Monday at a meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors over a controversial strip mining project that has been shot down by the county’s planning commission.

The proposed strip mine is near Temecula, at the Riverside and San Diego county line. It’s also near an ecological reserve and adjacent to Interstate 15 and Rainbow Valley Boulevard.

Residents of Temecula, known for its vineyards and wineries, don’t want their home to be polluted by mining activity.

“If they put that in, it would kill me,” Temecula resident Ronald Glusac said. Glusac suffered from silicosis as a 7-year-old child because he lived near a quarry in Palos Verdes in the 1940s. He says he moved to Temecula for the clean air.

Glusac was one of the dozens of Temecula residents wearing orange shirts.

The people wearing green shirts want the planning commission’s decision overturned by the Board of Supervisors. The company asking for the mining permits, Granite Construction, says there is no reason to be concerned over the proposed project.

“All the people that actually are in that industry of studying that, have looked at it,” Granite Construction spokeswoman Karie Reuther said. “Several people and air consultants have looked at it and have come back and said air’s not an issue.”

Most of the people wearing green T-shirts, however, are not from the Temecula area. They are all union members from all over Southern California, bussed into Riverside, paid by their union and given a free lunch for attending the meeting.

The green T-shirts sport a message in support of the mine project: “New Jobs. Less Traffic. Cleaner Air.”

Temecula Mayor Chuck Washington says he doesn’t believe any new jobs will be created and thinks that workers will be transported in from another quarry. Granite Construction’s Reuther says the project will create 99 new jobs.

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