(We sent the following email and attached letter to our local state senators and assemblymembers, opposing SB 624 which would remove serpentine as California's state rock. -Brian)
Dear Bay Area State Assemblymembers:
Please see the attached email regarding Committee for Green Foothills joining many other groups in opposition to SB 624 (Romero), which would remove serpentine as California's official state rock. For the reasons stated in the letter, we oppose this well-intentioned but misguided effort to highlight health problems with asbestos, and encourage the bill sponsors to find alternative approaches that do not harm the public understanding of our environment and the crucial role played by serpentine and serpentine-soil biological habitats.
The letter is copied below and in an attachment. Please contact me with any questions.
August 09, 2010
Please vote NO on SB 624, and protect California's official state rock
Dear Senators representing Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties:
The Committee for Green Foothills urges you to oppose SB 624 (Romero), a bill that would remove serpentine as California's official state rock. Serpentine symbolizes much that is unique and beautiful about California, and more concretely forms the basis of serpentine soil habitats, one of the last remaining strongholds of plant and animal biodiversity.
SB 624 is a misguided attempt to highlight problems with asbestos, while in fact serpentine presents no danger when left alone in its unprocessed, natural form (it contains a predecessor mineral that could be processed into industrial asbestos). Because the soil derived from serpentine bedrock is substantially different from typical soils, California native plant communities, adapted to the soil, thrive there where they have been extinguished in most areas by non-native invasive species. California's habitats survive due to California's state rock, and that fact should be celebrated, not erased. Fortunately for us in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, we have a number of areas with serpentine rock and serpentine habitats.
We have no objection to attempts to highlight problems with asbestos, but those attempts should not have negative effects on California. However well-intentioned, this effort would harm the public understanding of our environment, so for these reasons we ask you to oppose SB 624.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Brian A. Schmidt
Legislative Advocate, Santa Clara County