April 2008 – State & Province News
Fugitive environmental activist Tre Arrow, born Michael James Scarpitti, is back in the United States to stand trial on conspiracy and arson charges after nearly four years in a Canadian prison, the Associated Press reports. Arrow was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2004 following his arrest in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, on charges of shoplifting, assault, and obstructing a police officer after a security guard caught him trying to steal a pair of bolt cutters. Arrow pleaded guilty to the Canadian charges but fought extradition, claiming that he faced political persecution in the United States. Here, he faces a 14-count indictment that charges him with taking part in the destruction of several ready-mixed concrete trucks at Ross Island Sand and Gravel Co. in Portland. He’s also accused of destroying logging trucks at Schoppert Logging Co. in Eagle Creek.
An application by Haggerty Sand and Gravel to mine 51 acres in Mahoning Township drew protest during a Montour County Commissioners meeting. The Daily Item reports that several residents voiced concerns about the operation’s impact on their wells, while others complained about potential truck traffic. Commissioners told residents that they would contact the state Department of Environmental Protection, Mahoning Township supervisors, county zoning and planning officials, and conservation personnel to obtain answers to these concerns.
Martin Marietta Materials received permission to crush aggregate around the clock Monday through Thursday, according to the Times-Dispatch. The company sought 24-hour crushing operations that would run from Monday through Saturday, but received more restricted hours of operation after neighbors spoke against the idea of a six-day-a-week crushing schedule. Hanover County supervisors also cleared the way for the company’s Doswell 1,297-acre quarry to expand by 764 acres. Blasting will be confined to weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while trucking hours will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturdays from 7 a.m. until noon. Trains can load from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. In 1989, Martin Marietta donated approximately 80 acres that became the North Anna Battlefield Park. The company agreed to donate an additional 90 acres to the county as part of the expansion plan that was approved.
On Feb. 26, divers found the body of Charles Nemetz, a backhoe operator whose machine fell through ice, leaving the cab underwater at the Park View Sand and Gravel Pit in Rochester. The Associated Press reports that firefighters and rescue workers arrived at the quarry within minutes of an emergency call. They worked for three hours to get the machine upright and explained that they believed the man could have survived if the cab was airtight. When the machine was tipped over, however, they discovered that Nemetz was not in the cab. They found his body several hours later. Nemetz was taken to Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. According to the news service, the site was dotted with ponds and low-lying areas that filled with rain during the month and froze over.
The town of Rockingham’s plan to build a new gravel pit in a rural neighborhood has drawn the ire of neighbors of the proposed site. A report in the Brattleboro Reformer noted that the town’s planning commission would consider an application from the town to construct a gravel pit on Brockways Mills Road. The town plans to extract 100,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel during the next 10 years, but neighbors are complaining about the project, saying it would be “detrimental to the public welfare, injurious to property, and incompatible with the character of the neighborhood.” The town’s zoning application indicates that there would be up to 15 trucks per hour, with a total of 150 daily one-way trips at the peak use times. If approved, a total of 7 acres would be mined.
Plans to expand two quarries will be heard before the Niagara Escarpment Commission. According to Owen Sound Sun Times, Harold Sutherland Construction Ltd. has proposed a new 68-hectare quarry in the Georgian Bluffs, north of the Owen Sound. The plan would include mining 600,000 metric tons per year on a site that includes a “provincially significant life science area and provincially significant wetlands.” Walker Aggregates Ltd. has proposed an expansion of its existing site in the Duntroon area of western Simcoe County. It would also require an amendment to the Niagara Escarpment Plan. That application coincides with another license application on adjacent land in Grey County that would mine as much as 3 million metric tons each year. An Escarpment Commission planner told the newspaper that she has been seeking consultants to conduct review work on the potential hydro-geological effects of the proposals. She added that no aggregate extraction amendment application under the Niagara Escarpment Plan has ever failed.
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