Founding Members of Lehi Moms & Allies for Clean Air, Left to right adults. Angie Parkin, Kelly Dyches, and Cherise Udell.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, activists opposed to the mining operations of Geneva Rock in the Traverse Mountain hillside, placed posters on the windows and doors of the Lehi Free Press and city buildings. Some of the posters read, “City of Lehi,” with the word “Lehi” crossed out and Geneva written under it.

Sign on the door of the Lehi Free Press on Monday morning, February 25.

The controversial project developed by Perry Homes has stirred the ire of many residents in Traverse Mountain and the surrounding area. They claim that the dust created by the operation is unhealthy and has serious health implications. “Lehi Moms and Allies for Clean Air” is the group responsible for placing the signs in Lehi in an attempt to call attention to health issues associated with the continued “mining” operation in Traverse Mountain.

Members of the “Lehi Moms and Allies for Clean Air” met with the Lehi Free Press on February 26 to explain their position and give additional information. Kelly Dyches, one of the founders of the group, said, “People have no clue what is happening. People have no idea how Geneva Rock is bulldozing this project through.”

Cherise Udell, an advocate for clean air in Utah, said, “The city is not doing everything they can to make the operation safe.” Angie Parkin added, “We do not want a new mine 50 feet from a family’s backyard. Where does one person’s property rights end and another’s begin? This is a quality of life issue. Why are Geneva Rock’s property rights more important than property rights of homeowners?”

Sign on the doors of City Hall Monday morning, February 25. | Lehi Moms and Allies for Clean Air.

In a prepared statement, the group contends that:

Lehi City continues to endanger the health, safety, and welfare of its residents by allowing mining operation within a residential area where the zoning laws prohibit mining as an allowable activity. The City says that if they call mining by a different name (mass grading) then they are not obligated to regulate activity according to their municipal and development codes.

The statement further points out that development and municipal codes list a litany of documentation and permits that must be on file (even if one assumes that mining is an allowable activity), which it is not. Lehi City does not have any of the requirements on file and refuses to take any action, even action which involves requiring the process of issuing the proper permits. The result is a mining operation which has proven time and time again to blow uncontrolled pollution into the neighborhood and bordering valley.

Lehi City did everything in its power to push this through, often without regard to process, procedure or promises. For example, the Planning Commission took it upon itself to redefine what Health and Safety means (health and safety are defined as happiness and people will be happier with the mining in the long term)

The Planning Commission did attach an environmental study as a precondition to moving forward with this mine. When the Lehi City Council passed the concept plan, Councilmember Johnny Revill confirmed legislative intent that the environmental study would still need to be done. However, the Mayor and City Administrator decided not to enforce this requirement and the plan was approved without it. The Utah Department of Health recommended a study be done before any decisions were made and Lehi City is ignoring this recommendation as well.

The “Lehi Moms and Allies for Clean Air” group plans to continue to advocate for the cessation of the mining operation in Traverse Mountain even if litigation is necessary.

22 COMMENTS

  1. THANK YOU Lehi Free Press for covering this important issue. An active, independent press is essential to our democracy and Lehi is lucky to have you. Please keep covering this story as it unfolds. Geneva Rock and Perry Homes are truly bulldozing this community and it needs to stop.

  2. Bingo: “Where does one person’s property rights end and another’s begin? This is a quality of life issue. Why are Geneva Rock’s property rights more important than property rights of homeowners?”

  3. Thank you Lehi Press for covering this. Well-meaning individuals will often respond ‘but the mines were there first!’ or ‘We need this material to build homes like yours’.
    1. The Mines were not here first. The active mining right now by Geneva is happening in Sage Canyon. This mining operation is entirely located on Perry Homes property for supposed future residential community. The problem is they can’t build this residential as permitted, even by Geneva’s own reclamation statement. But, as has happened before – Lehi City turns a blind eye and allows the EXACT same designation in a NEW MINE they promoted, amended, and approved 50 feet from existing homes. Sage Canyon only became active a few years ago. Most resident’s homes were built 10-14 years ago.

    2. The idea that mining and gravel companies can only get product opening a new mine in the middle of an living, breathing, pre-existing community is preposterous. Most would willing to pay a few cents more a cubic yard and avoid 3rd world conditions and the health implications beyond these pits. Our understanding of the dangers around mining dust have grown. This city layout and population has grown and tech companies and population center is now at the heart of Silicon Slopes. Mining companies have natural gas equipment available now. There is product located all around the ancient Bonneville shoreline, riverbeds and beyond. There is no excuse for trading resident health – even lives, for corporate profits. The real critical infrastructure is our shared air.

  4. The air around the point of the mountain has been identified as some of the worst in UTAH. I live by Timpanogos highway and can attest to it. Thank you Cherise Udell (my sister-in-law)

  5. A free press is a wonderful gift to be maintained at all costs. Thank you for highlighting this issue. Keep up the good work.
    So I gather homeowners are being treated as second class, 3rd world squatters?
    How can this occur? How can a mine generating all sorts of toxic pollutants be permitted to operate within such close proximity to children playing in their own backyards?
    This issue transcends friendships and loyalties and dollars it is simply acknowledging the rights of individuals who happen to be children

  6. Thank you for publishing this story. More people need to be aware of the health and safety issues that will surely result from a new mining operation starting up so close to residential areas. Big thanks go to Lehi Moms and Allies for Clean Air for being the voice of the residents who oppose this new mining operation.

  7. Thank you for making more people aware of what is going on. This doesn’t just effect the population of Traverse Mountain residents, this effects Lehi city as well as surrounding communities. It is frustrating that we as residents even have to fight for a MINE to not be allowed so close to residential homes, our mayor and city council should have been the ones to stand up for residents health.

  8. Who knows where the Cancer Corridor is in Lehi? Is it in your neighborhood? Ask around. Sadly, this place exists. Why there are so many cancer cases in this area is up for speculation, but wouldn’t it be a great idea for Mayor Johnson and Lehi City Council to demand some answers? How about doing soil, air and water testing as well as an epidemiological study to provide some answers.

  9. The City continues to bury their heads in the ground, ignore zoning and health by labeling mining as “mass grading” then acts like the Citizens are the problem when we speak up. Thanks for covering this issue. Mining with a subdivision really is insane!

  10. Thank you for covering this story! Even though the Utah Department of Health has recommended doing an environmental study before moving forward with this NEW mine, Lehi City is ignoring this and moving forward because of a fear of litigation from Geneva Rock or Perry Homes. Corporate greed is trampling over Lehi Resident’s health.

  11. The City absolutely needs to be held accountable to this unconscionable decision. There is no reason why a mine should be approved within 50ft of pre-existing homes. Deflecting with asinine reasoning is not going to work anymore. We, Lehi residents, demand our voices be heard and action taken accordingly.

  12. I find it amazing that there are so many groups and government agencies that are talking about the poor air quality along the Wasatch front and even the state legislature has introduced bills to clean it up and yet we argue weather a mine in close proximity to homes and neighborhoods is a problem. The legislature is debating HB288 which would give the state the say weather mines can open up next to your house, REALLY!! Are the politicians of this state really that dense not to see how all of this is tied into one big problem!! Pollution from cars, manufacturing, transportation companies, mining and so many other sources create this problem and yet we look at each one of these causes by itself instead of looking at the whole problem! I think it is time for the tunnel vision on this subject to end!!!
    I think it is a travesty that money is the deciding factor for what our government will allow or deny because I am positive it is, we the people who are supposed to have that say!!!!
    It is not ok to put mines next to homes and it is not ok to help company’s get rich at the expense of people’s health and welfare.
    Maybe it is time we the people take back our government and start putting politicians in that care more about we the people than their own pocket book or that of corporations!!!

  13. Lehi – we can’t let this happen! We need to stop Geneva and then overhaul city leadership at the polls. “Government for the people by the people.”

  14. We are SO CLOSE to this, we cannot even believe the mayor has approved something so preposterous! This has all been very surreal and eye opening to the fact that even city council members here in Utah are not above being bought! The wind in this area has caused major health problems from where the mine is NOW, it’s truly sickening that anyone thinks it’s ok to put such harmful chemicals like silica in the air 50 feet from our backyard!

  15. The City has told Lehi Free Press that studies have been done, but that is completely false. Fellow concerned residents met with Dr. Dunn and the Environments Epi Program just in January in a large meeting with all the key players at the state and NO study has been done. No studies this last year have been conducted and no conclusions drawn. This is why the state sent that letter advising that a study by done prior to the mining operations beginning.

  16. This is incredibly concerning. I cannot believe our local government cares so little about it’s citizens’ health. Truly disappointing.

  17. Thank you very much for your coverage. Great to see Lehi citizens rally for such an important cause. Success here will require a strong groundswell movement and partnering with other cities (Draper and Bluffdale) as well. Thank you again!

  18. Geneva is like a cancer sitting in the middle of residential area. Actually it may cause a lot of lung cancers to local people. I would rather to get it out of this area and leave the mountain quietly. Let’s get together and kick them out! Talk to legislators and issue a bill for it.

  19. Thank you for taking action! The more public we make our concerns, the more people will realize that the future of Lehi residents is at stake. Do we want gravel and cancer to be what we are known for? Or happy, healthy citizens?

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