January 2009 – State & Province News
The Goochland Gazette reports that Luck Stone began cutting its workforce in late November. The layoffs are spread among 30 locations in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina and include corporate positions. The restructuring impacted approximately 150 employees with some relocating or taking on new assignments, but the majority of which lost their jobs. According to Charlie Luck IV, president and CEO of Luck Stone, a slowdown in the construction of new homes and commercial properties, as well as cuts to state transportation funding have impacted demand for the company’s products. He doesn’t see the economic slowdown ending any time soon.
Spokane County Hearing Examiner Michael Dempsey approved a zoning change from Urban Reserve to Mineral Lands for 104 acres and paved the way for a significant mine expansion. An additional 10 acres of land already zoned for mining will be subject to revised conditions. According to the Spokesman Review, the irregularly shaped site is owned by Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co. and features a flat-topped ridge that surrounds an existing 43-acre quarry. The company’s plans call for reclamation of the land and creation of a 242-lot residential subdivision with 40 years. Permit restrictions include limiting operations to daylight hours. Mining is banned on Sundays and major holidays. The operations must also not create “significant adverse impact” on the local moose population or noise disturbance for neighbors.
A community action group and a limestone company are once again fighting over a quarry planned for Randolph County. West Virginia Media reports that a citizens group says it believes that iron and aluminum released during mining will hurt wildlife in a nearby river, a claim denied by producer J.F. Allen Co. The citizens group is hosting dinners and fundraisers, operating a Web site, taking names for a petition, doing interviews with the media, and trying to fund its own environmental impact study. The battle between these two groups began about six years ago, soon after J.F. Allen began the government process required to open its third quarry site, Ken Politan, assistant director for the Division of Mining and Reclamation of the DEP, told the news service. The DEP, J.F. Allen, and the citizens group agreed on a settlement and signed it in 2005, which included discharge amounts of the metals, but the producer later determined that the proposed limits were not economically achievable. Politan said J.F. Allen’s request is not expected to hurt aquatic life, because the metal levels will still fall into the state’s guidelines.
According to The Leader-Telegram, Canadian Sand and Proppant withdrew its request to mine sand in the town of Howard. Plans for a sand processing plant are expected to move forward, but will the sand will be imported from other towns or via rail. The producer purchased 93 acres of land zoned for heavy industrial use and says it plans to spend $45 million to $50 million for construction. It received a conditional use permit from the city to construct buildings on the site, but ran into opposition from the town where it wanted to mine a farm in 10-acre increments. The town supervisor said it will have a moratorium on mining permits and asked the county to not interfere.
St. Mary’s Cement must redo a controversial water-pumping test at the site of its proposed limestone quarry northeast of Carlisle, The Hamilton Spectator reports. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) rejected results of testing in July, saying heavy rain made the data unreliable. A consultant for the company insisted data could adjust for the rainfall, but government officials say the results “would never be as conclusive as if the test had been carried out without this confounding factor. We can’t accept the theoretical.” It’s a serious setback in St. Mary’s bid to open a large quarry. The company may have to wait until spring to rerun the first phase of a three-phase test plan, raising questions about whether it can finish all three before its permit expires June 30.
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