May 2008 – State & Province News
by Therese Dunphy, Executive Editor
The Fresno County Planning Commission reversed its earlier, tentative approval of a 315-acre mine on Kings River. According to The Fresno Bee, Calaveras Materials Inc. was asked to put more work on a list of environmental protections and other conditions before receiving final approval. At a March meeting, the board indicated that it was not satisfied that the farmland loss and other effects had been satisfactorily addressed. The company’s proposal called for mining a million tons of gravel per year from the site. It would be the third large mine either operating or planned in the area. Vulcan Materials Inc. received approval on a 440-acre expansion of its 200-acre site last year. Jesse Morrow Mountain is waiting for the commission’s review of its proposal for a 500-acre site. A spokesperson for Calaveras Materials told the newspaper that the commission’s decision would be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
Grace Pacific announced that it has six to eight years of reserves left at its current quarry, but it is not the top-grade aggregate material needed to complete its construction commitments on the island of Oahu, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports. Bob Creps, a senior vice president at Grace Pacific, told the newspaper that if the Makakilo Quarry closes, the island’s two remaining quarries will not be able to meet demand, and aggregate will have to be imported at two to four times the cost of local aggregate. Citizens have asked the company to relocate its quarry to a less populated area, but Creps says their research shows that there are no significant basalt deposits suitable for quarrying on the island. Further, he adds that Ameron Hawaii’s effort to permit a new operation in the late ’90s illustrates that it is unlikely a new site will be approved in Oahu. Instead, Grace Pacific has suggested that a neutral geologist do an independent assessment of natural resource development options.
A gift from the Cornejo family to Newman University will be used to create the Jess Cornejo Plaza, in honor of the late founder of Cornejo & Sons, The Wichita Eagle reports. The plaza will serve as an outdoor gathering place for official university functions and other events, such as concerts, fairs, and meetings. Work is expected to be complete by the end of the spring semester, and a formal dedication ceremony is planned as part of the university’s 75th anniversary celebration beginning Sept. 12.
Lafarge North America paid a $20,000 and is ramping up the use of dust control technologies at its East South Street quarry in Frederick as required in a consent order with the state. According to the News-Post, the order stems from claims the state made against the company in 2006. A Jan. 25 inspection of the site by Maryland’s Department of the Environment (MDE) found it to be in compliance with state law. As part of the consent order, Lafarge is required to install and use dust suppression equipment including sprayers on its crushers, water cannons on its stockpiles, and sweeper and water trucks to minimize dust on its roads. The company is also required to draw up a plan to move its stockpiles, conduct and log daily inspections of its dust suppression equipment, and make quarterly reports to the MDE. The company also plans in install a wheel washing system to prevent trackout.
The Michigan Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal made by a mining opposition group regarding Aggregate Industries’ bid to open a mine in Alamo Township. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that a spokesperson for the anti-mining group said, “For all practical purposes, (the fight) ends here.” A year-and-a-half-long battle has been waged in the effort to open this mine. Previously, the town zoning board voted to deny the company’s request for a special-use permit to operate a 165-acre mine. Aggregate Industries responded with a $10 million lawsuit against the township. While the company’s battle with Alamo Township appears to be ending, the Oshtemo Township Board of Trustees rejected its request to allow truck traffic on a street that does not currently permit truck traffic. An attorney for the group that owns the property to be mined has threatened litigation in that matter.
A Miller County court handed down $252,000 in fines against Jefferson City-based Lake Ozark Sand & Gravel Inc., $22,000 in fines against Kenneth Hawk, and $26,000 in fines against Tim Duncan, according to www.lakesunleader.com. The Web site reports that the fines stem from charges of criminal disposition of demolition waste in the first degree. According to the county prosecutor, the two men and the business violated the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law when they illegally disposed of construction and demolition waste on Hawk’s property on Blue Springs Road. The size of the illegal dump led to criminal rather than civil charges, however, a portion of the fees were suspended due to the parties’ cooperation in properly closing the site. In addition, three contractors face civil claims for dumping solid waste at the site.
Gravel pit owners in Nye County are being asked if their sites could be used as a flood retention basin following a county report that outlined a $315 million flood control plan for the entire valley. The Pahrump Valley Times reports that the county plans to build a channel to divert flood waters from Wheeler Wash into a series of pits, including one owned by Nye County Commissioner Butch Borasky. A trench would be cut to channel the water into the pits, but the county would have to request a right-of-way from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A BLM natural resource specialist told the newspaper that more sand and gravel operations could be steered toward an 80-acre area southwest of sites owned by local pavement contractor Wulfenstein and Cemex.
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