January 2008 – State & Province News
by Therese Dunphy, Executive Editor
The Alabama Road Builders Association installed its new officers. They include Greg Abramson, Abramson, LLC, president; Sonny Bunn, S.T. Bunn Construction Co., Inc., vice president; Sherman Suitts, Vulcan Materials Co., treasurer; and Michael McCartney, McCartney Construction Co., Inc., secretary.
Plans for new and expanded sand and gravel mines along the Kings River have drawn attention and legal challenges from environmentalists. According to the Fresno Bee, the Fresno County supervisors approved plans for expansion of one Kings River site in August 2007. Two more are proposed for on or near the Kings, while a fourth operator is debating expansion. Vulcan Materials Co.’s plan for a larger mine near Centerville is in the eye of the current storm. Vulcan wants to expand its current 220-acre site to 440 acres.
Fresno County Supervisor Bob Waterston told the newspaper that he had no reservations about Vulcan’s project. “If their history wasn’t good, I wouldn’t have supported them,” he said. The executive director of the Building Industry Association of the San Joaquin Valley also pointed out rock shortages caused price increases during 2005 and 2006. Dave Koehler, executive director of the San Joaquin River Parkway and Trust Conservancy, told the newspaper that Vulcan had mined on the river for decades and had received high marks for its restoration efforts.
Florida Rock Industries Inc.’s owners received either cash or stock for the company in its merger with Vulcan Material Co., but are paying to keep a hunting lodge in Florida, the Jacksonville Business Journal reports. In Florida Rock’s annual report, it noted that the company will sell the lodge to its chairman, Edward Baker, and CEO, John Baker. The sale is subject to approval from the company’s board of directors. John Baker is now a director on the Vulcan board.
Permitting challenges faced by Alsop Sand President Dane Barclay were featured in The Salina Journal. The newspaper reported that the company is running out of reserves while it struggles to receive a permit for a new site. Barclay told the newspaper that he’s pumped most of the available sand from his 160-acre site near the city’s flood-control levee in Salina and is supplementing with material from a northern site. Warren Harshman, president of the Kansas Aggregate Producers Association, also was interviewed for the article and told the reporter explained that the NIMBY attitude is driving communities to import aggregates from greater distances. Despite the feature article, a vote for a conditional permit was voted down a few days later.
Woods and a cornfield could become a recreational pond for swimming, skating, and boating, according to the Telegram & Gazette. Putnam town leaders and Jeffrey Rawson, president of Rawson Materials, have discussed developing the 17-acre recreational site. Under the plan, the company would buy and remove almost 500,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel from land either owned by the town or donated to the town. Rawson Materials would then create banks and a beach for the pond, which would naturally fill with groundwater and be nearly 30 feet deep in some locations. The project is expected to take two to three years.
A citizens group opposed to gravel mining in Alamo Township was denied its request to halt all operations at the mining site, the Kalamazoo Gazette reports. Concerned Citizens of Oshtemo and Alamo Townships are expected to file papers with the Michigan Court of Appeals to protest Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Alexander Lipsey’s ruling, the group’s attorney said. The organization is seeking a cessation of all mining activity until the appeals court rules on an appeal submitted by the group in November. The previous appeal challenges the circuit court’s jurisdiction in approving a settlement agreement between Alamo Township and Aggregate Industries. Full-scale mining is expected to begin at the site this spring.
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