June 2009 – State & Province News
As the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) studies the environmental effects of proposed aggregate operations on its land, nearly 400 residents attended a forum on the matter hosted by public officials. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Cemex and Service Rock Products would like to lease land from the BLM and begin operations in 2011. First, however, the environmental impact reports must be completed, the companies must outbid any competitors for the leases, and the project must survive public resistance. About 5,500 residents signed a petition opposing the quarries, and U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) told forum attendees that she would try to put a stop to the proposal. If the site proves unsuitable for mining, the BLM will foot the bill for the $350,000 environmental study. If not, the highest bidder will pay the cost and pay the federal government a royalty for mined materials.
Calling the improvement of New Jersey roads and rails “part of our strategic future,” Gov. Jon Corzine proposed a $3.6 billion capital construction program for 2010. According to NJ.com, that figure represents a 9-percent increase over current funding levels and does not include an additional $1 billion in federal stimulus funding for the state that is also designated for transportation projects. Funds will be used toward “interim” repairs to the Pulaski Skyway in Kearney, Newark, and Jersey City; construction of a second commuter rail tunnel to Manhattan and an expanded Penn Station in New York; resurfacing of Route 287 in Somerset County and other highways; and $419 million for infrastructure improvements aimed at relieving congestion.
After a three-year battle, the Skaneateles Town Board voted 3-2 to approve Cemento LLC’s application for a special use permit to develop a 77-acre sand and gravel mine. The Post-Standard reports that the company applied for the permit in January 2006, but the application was placed on hold as the town evaluated its mining laws. The vote followed party lines, with Republicans getting the permit through. The group reviewed testimony that lasted about 10 hours over the course of four nights. One of the dissenting board members asked for his comments to be entered into the record. A future neighbor of the site said those comments may form the basis for a lawsuit from the neighboring homeowner’s association.
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