Irvine Plans to Move Asphalt Plant Amid Health Concerns

By Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis
Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.
March 7, 2022 Updated: March 9, 2022

IRVINE, Calif.—Despite Irvine officials’ plan to move an asphalt plant out of the city, concerns still arise as to how long it will take to move the plant and what measures will be taken in the meantime.

Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan announced on Feb. 22 that the city, in its lawsuit with All American Asphalt—in northeast Irvine—is pursuing a settlement with the plant, which, if achieved, will require the plant to move outside Irvine.

It could take up to 24 months to move the plant out of the city, Irvine City Manager Oliver Chi told The Epoch Times.

Prior to the move, the settlement would also require the plant to take immediate measures to limit emissions and odors, including a more robust air monitoring system, Chi said.

“We are optimistic that the initial discussions we’ve had with All American Asphalt have been positive and favorable regarding the possibility of having them relocate out of the city,” Chi said.

For around three years, residents near the All American Asphalt have complained of itchy eyes and headaches resulting from the plant’s operations.

Despite the move, Kim Konte, a resident who lives within the affected area and founder of activist group Non-Toxic Neighborhoods, said anything less than an emergency injunction to immediately stop plant operations is not enough.

“We can’t let our kids breathe that air,” Konte said.

Konte also called the alleged mitigation measures to reduce air toxins “smoke and mirrors.”

Konte is looking to relocate her family solely due to the plant’s emissions because she does not want to risk her children’s health anymore after three years of exposure.

“We love Irvine, but it’s not safe for kids. So we need to go,” she said. “We fought this as hard as we could, but Khan’s solution is not one that is going to help any of the children that have already been exposed for three years. We don’t even know the damage that’s been done already.”

Councilman Larry Agran, an outspoken opponent of the plant, said the plant has quadrupled its production in the last few years. He thinks more needs to be done in the meantime to provide relief to residents who have dealt with the toxins.

Agran said the council should be “hiring special legal counsel” to seek “an injunction to shut down the plant or at least sharply curtail its operations—rolling back those operations by 75 percent.”

While All American Asphalt has not agreed to move yet, Irvine Vice Mayor Anthony Kuo told The Epoch Times he believes a settlement could be reached within 6 to 10 weeks.

“There is an openness and a willingness from All American [Asphalt] to move if the terms presented were right,” Kuo said. “That idea did not originate from our making that up out of thin air.”

All American Asphalt did not reply to an inquiry from The Epoch Times for comment.

Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.