CCSD board to discuss asphalt plant construction near school

The Clark County School Board will discuss whether to request the county block construction of an asphalt plant near Spring Valley High School.

Trustee Carolyn Edwards announced the news at the school board’s Thursday night meeting following a request from the high school’s principal, who said pollution from an existing plant owned by Wells Cargo construction company is harmful to his students and staff.

“We all suffer each day by breathing the documented dirty air that blows our way from the Wells Cargo facility,” Principal Tam Larnerd said during the meeting’s public comment portion.

Wells Cargo has operated an asphalt plant at the corner of Spring Mountain Road and South Tenaya Way since 1963, according to the company. Spring Valley High School opened about two blocks to the southwest in 2004.

Last month, Clark County staff granted Wells Cargo an air quality permit to open a second plant. The company still needs the county commission’s permission to build.

CCSD Environmental Services Director Lori Headrick has filed an appeal. She claims a two-week study of air quality inside the high school revealed amounts of gases and coarse particulate matter “above industry guidelines and Federal standards,” likely stemming from the existing asphalt plant.

Such pollutants can trigger asthma attacks and lead to long-term health problems, University of Southern California professor and air pollution expert Ed Avol told the Review-Journal this month.

Larnerd said he has 376 asthmatic students on his campus and a small group of “medically fragile” special education students.

“Knowing that the location of the bus lot is directly across the street from the asphalt plant, all of these students are exposed to the pollution in the air as they arrive to school each day and board the bus in the afternoon,” Larnerd said.

Larnerd was joined at the meeting by Spring Valley residents who live near the current asphalt plant. Diane Henry was one of about 10 people wearing red clothing to show their opposition to Wells Cargo’s operations.

“Our concerns can’t be overstated,” she said during public comment. “The health of students and families could be affected for the rest of their lives.”

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