June 2008 – State & Province News
by Therese Dunphy, Executive Editor
Birmingham-based Vulcan Materials Co. was inducted into the Alabama Road Builders Association Hall of Fame. It was the first company to be recognized by the association, which most frequently honors individuals. Formed in 2002, the Hall of Fame was designed to honor, preserve, and perpetuate the accomplishments and contributions of individuals, companies, and institutions that have brought and continue to bring significant recognition in the field of transportation construction to the state. Nominations are made by open call to association members, while the hall’s board of directors designates the nominees to be inducted each year.
The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports that gravel firms “grandfathered in” to mine in the water table in the Matanuska-Susitna borough are safe, but new dredging operations are banned, at least until a proposed ordinance has been finalized. The Mat-Su Borough Assembly passed an ordinance that puts any future dredging operations on new grounds on hold. That prohibition will remain in place until Oct. 21, when the assembly is scheduled for a public hearing on an ordinance that is likely to allow new operations for water table mining, with certain restrictions. Seven companies have established grandfathered rights and have indicated that they intend to dredge into the water table.
The U.S. Department of Labor is suing Aggregate Industries for more than $1 million in back wages it says are due to the company’s 302 employees. The Department of Labor said an investigation determined Aggregate Industries failed to pay employees overtime from June 25, 2005, through June 3, 2006. The company paid drivers per truckload regardless of the number of hours worked, the government said. The Department of Labor said the company has agreed to come into compliance for the future, but has refused to pay the back wages. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Denver.
A dredge traveling from Panama City to Mobile was expected to stop in Destin to excavate sand from outside the navigation channel of the East Pass. The Destin Log reports that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hired a contractor for the traveling dredge and was able to save the transportation costs since it was already being relocated. Approximately 30,000 to 50,000 cubic yards of sand will be delivered to Norriego Point, the Destin city manager told the newspaper. Originally, only 2,500 cubic yards of sand were to be removed from the pass’s navigation channel. The city manager said the additional dredging would not only clear the pass for navigational purposes, it will also provide sand to help the city’s east beaches.
Palm Beach County commissioners approved plans for decades of digging on 11,000 acres of mostly sugar cane that used to be the Everglades, according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Despite environmental concerns, commissioners voted 4-2 to allow plans for South Bay Quarry, which is located 10 miles south of Belle Glade. Commissioners also approved the Lake Harbor Quarry, which is located 4 miles south of Lake Okeechobe. A third proposal, for the 553-acre Bergeron mine expansion, was postponed and had not been heard at Aggregates Manager press time. “Whether we like or not, they have legally met the criteria,” Commissioner Mary McCarty told the newspaper.
The same woman who stopped a minor league baseball stadium from moving into Hughesville is now taking on Chaney Enterprises as it seeks rezoning of a 150-acre property in order to relocate its gravel washing operation from its current Waldorf location. According to The Washington Post, Donna Cave is organizing an anti-mining effort that includes launching a Web site (www.preservehughesville.org), organizing a letter writing campaign, and recruiting speakers for public meetings. Chaney officials have told the community that they would donate part of the land for a satellite campus of the College of Southern Maryland and for a headquarters for several regional charities. “I remember as a child, Hughesville was a bustling little community, and I’d like to see that happen again,” Commissioner Samuel Graves Jr., told the newspaper. “At some point, somebody has to embrace someone coming in with the financial wherewithal to make that happen.” Graves has not taken a stand on the zoning proposal, but has said that he is determined to make sure Chaney has a fair hearing.
Delaware-based Horsey Family LLC is seeking approval for a zoning exception to excavate material along the Marshyhope Creek in Dorchester County. The Associated Press reports that environmentalists are concerned about the impact on a rare wetlands area along the creek, but Horsey’s attorney told the news service the wetlands will not be disturbed and the environmentalists’ concerns are unfounded. If the county grants the zoning exception, the company would still need a surface mining permit from the state Department of the Environment.
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