July 1, 2012
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Vulcan Materials Co. announced that, based on preliminary results from its annual meeting, shareholders have re-elected the company’s entire slate of director nominees, including directors Phillip W. Farmer, H. Allen Franklin, Richard T. O’Brien, and Donald B. Rice. The meeting lasted approximately one hour.
Granite Construction Inc. joined the Sustainability Infrastructure Advisory Board at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design to help develop and promote a rating system to measure the sustainability of infrastructure projects nationwide. According to a company press release, the rating system will provide the operator’s customers and project teams with a method for evaluating the viability and longevity of sustainable infrastructure projects. “As infrastructure sustainability becomes increasingly important to cities, counties, and states, the need for project owners, designers, and contractors to implement a recognized system has risen to the forefront,” said Geoff Boraston, director of environmental affairs for Granite Construction. The company currently maintains one of the only infrastructure sustainability plans in the nation.
After years of battle pitting Sanger residents against a mining company, the Fresno Planning Commission voted against the proposed gravel mining project on Jesse Morrow Mountain, east of Sanger, CBS47.com reports. The planning commission voted 4 to 3 against the proposed sand and gravel mine. Cemex had sought permission to extract 1.5 million tons of aggregate material a year for up to 50 years. Cemex spokesman Sara Engdahl told the television reporter, “A lot of the accusations brought up against the project today were baseless and exaggerated, and we hope to be able to address those at the next step in the process.”
The wrong type of soil, used to construct berms around Tiller Corp.’s operation near Grantsburg, allowed fine sand sediment to seep into a wetland, a creek, and the St. Croix River. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the leak has been stopped. Mike Caron, the company’s director of land-use affairs, said the soil should have had more clay and plasticity to prevent the issue. He said the berm has been reconstructed to do the job properly, and noted that only water and sand, not chemicals, had escaped the area.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) recently widened the road bed, built erosion control for a pond, and paved a half-mile long gravel road leading to three houses near Pittsboro in rural Chatham County. The Charlotte Observer reports the project is part of the state DOT’s ongoing mission, launched in 1989 by the legislature and then-Gov. Jim Martin, to improve and pave every state-maintained dirt and gravel road in the state. Over the last two decades, the state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to blacktop 13,000 miles of roads, bringing asphalt to the driveways of nearly 200,000 homes, the newspaper reports. Through the Highway Trust Fund Act, nine out of 10 unpaved miles have been blacktopped, however, the DOT has built only 78 percent of its planned four-lane intrastate highway systems and only 42 percent of the planned urban loops. The DOT’s average cost for paving gravel roads has increased from $250,000 per mile in 2007 to $350,000 today.
Environmentalists and park officials with the Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit are objecting to a potential gravel pit on the Elkhorn Ranch, The Dickinson Press reports. The Elkhorn Ranch was founded by Roosevelt in 1884 and was purchased by the Forest Service in 2006; however, all mineral rights were not obtained at that time. Peggy Braunberger, who, along with Roger Lothspeich, owns 27 percent of the mineral rights, submitted an operating plan to the Forest Service four years ago. The plan has been revised and field reviews have been conducted.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is hoping to generate millions of dollars in new money by launching a program that will permit advertising and sponsorship opportunities at interstate rest areas and welcome centers throughout Ohio. On May 21, the agency began seeking competitive bids for the Sponsorship, Maintenance, and Advertising Revenue Targeted (SMART) program. Money generated from the SMART program will help ODOT offset a portion of the $30 million to $50 million the agency spends each year to maintain the state’s 101 rest areas. “This new program will help do two things: reduce the amount of money ODOT spends on rest area maintenance, and generate new money we can use to pay for some of the major construction projects communities have told us they want,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray in a press release. “Launching the SMART program demonstrates that ODOT is serious about thinking outside the box and seeking innovative and alternative funding sources to pay for road construction in Ohio.”
National Lime and Stone Co.’s request to rezone land as part of an expansion plan has the support of the Marion County Regional Planning Commission, but is contending with some negative neighbor reaction. According to the Marion Star, the company has requested to rezone 86.2 acres of land from residential to industrial. The Grand Prairie Township zoning commission called a public hearing that was attended by an overflowing crowd; however, it was canceled due to lack of quorum. Jim Schertzer, chairman of the township’s board of trustees, suggested that the rescheduled meeting be held in a larger location.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it levied a $33,065 fine against Hebert and Marion Hasbrouck and Hasbrouck Sand and Gravel Inc. for violations of the Solid Waste Management Act related to the improper handling and disposal of tires. In January 2011, the DEP conducted an inspection of the Hasbrouck property and observed a large pile of incinerated tires. The staff determined the tires came from the sand and gravel operation and had been transported to the property. In January, the DEP issued an administrative order to immediately cease the transportation of solid waste to the property, remove any remaining waste tires and waste ash, and submit receipts indicating proper disposal. Follow-up inspections indicated that all conditions of the order were met.
Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced his nomination of Roland Fiore, Stephen Hardy, and William Holmes for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Board of Directors, golocalprov.com reports. Previously, he announced his nomination of Marcia Blount, Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, and Alison Vareika. In making the nominations, Chaffee said, “These… nominees represent geographic diversity, as well as connections to different and important areas of Rhode Island’s economy.” Fiore has been president of South County Sand & Gravel Co., Inc. since 1988. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, currently serves as secretary of the Rhode Island Builders Association, and is an active volunteer in the local community.
The Ash Grove Cement Co.’s Board of Directors approved a $125 million-plus investment in its Midlothian plant. A new preheater, precalciner production system will make the facility among the lowest emitting cement producers in the state, a company press release reports. “We are considering a range of options as a result of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Portland cement National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants rule, which is scheduled to take effect in September 2013,” Ash Grove Chairman Charles Sunderland said in the release. “We concluded that we wanted to continue to provide Texans with locally-made cement from our Midlothian facility for the foreseeable future, and, therefore, approved the modernization project.” More than 110 workers are employed at the plant.
The Utah Best of State organization honored Staker Parsons Companies as Best in State for manufacturing-mineral mining/stone quarrying. According to a company press release, Staker Parsons also received the Best of the Best trophy in the production and manufacturing division. “Utah’s construction economy has been seriously repressed for the past several years; however, we have succeeded in growing our volumes and working toward the achievement of our business purpose, which is to safely build the preferred source for our customers, employees, shareholders, and neighbors,” Staker Parsons CEO Scott Parson wrote to the contest judges.
The Eau Claire County Board voted unanimously to amend the county’s non-metallic mining code to address the issue of large-scale silica sand mines. The Leader-Telegraph reports the rules require mines to be at least 1,000 feet from residential areas and create an “overlay district” that would be in place for the life of a mine, while the existing zoning would remain. When the mine is reclaimed, the overlay zone would expire. Both the county and any zoned town would have input and veto power in writing conditional-use permits for sand mines.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation is embarking on a series of highway construction and repair projects that are part of the biggest transportation spending plan in state history, CBSnews.com reports. “This transportation budget is different than any passed and signed by any Legislature and governor,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said of the $639 million transportation bill. “It’s the largest in our history…We made a promise to Vermonters that we would rebuild Vermont better than the way (Hurricane) Irene found us. This transportation bill reflects that commitment.” The fiscal 2013 spending plan increases transportation spending by $105 million over the current year, which includes a $28 million increase in funds for highway paving.