State and Province News April 2011
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the
United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
Although a Limestone County woman has voiced concerns that a new gravel mine will lower her property value, the Huntsville natural resources director told the Huntsville Times that there is no reason to deny the operation’s application for an air permit. A developer is opening the mine to supply material for the development of a subdivision, the Preserve at Limestone Creek. The developer said that gravel extraction at the site will keep the 750 truckloads of gravel needed for the first phase of the subdivision’s development off surrounding roads.
The House of Representatives is considering legislation that would allow the state to recover any profits earned by open-cut mining operations — including sand and gravel sites — that are found to be operating without a permit. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is limited to issuing a fine of $1,000 for a first violation with higher fines for repeat offenders. The deputy director of that department estimated that a company recently found to be operating a gravel mine without a permit made $1,000 each day and was in operation for nine months. He told the newspaper that companies operating without a permit were able to provide a competitive advantage over those that conducted their mining operations within the legal guidelines.
Teichert Aggregates is applying for a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for $250,000 toward the construction of a biomass plant that would burn plant waste and create electricity. The Appeal-Democrat reports that the company plans to build the plant on its property near Linda, in Yuba County. If built, it would generate up to 20 megawatts of electricity, or enough power for 20,000 homes. Mike Ray, a project manager for Teichert, told the newspaper that the company became interested in biomass after it began investigating ways to reduce the electrical bill for gravel mining and related operations. The company expects to hear about its grant application within three to six months. From then, it anticipates a two-year timeframe to secure financing, gain necessary approvals, and build the plant.
York Building Products faces challenges on its request to have the county rezone 706 acres in the Carpenters Point peninsula as mineral extraction area (MEA). In an online report, www.mydailybiz.com reports that the zoning is being considered as two separate parcels. One parcel was proposed to be zoned as industrial, with York Building Products requesting a change to MEA. The county’s planning and zoning staff is recommending approval of that request, but the planning commission is recommending disapproval. The second parcel is proposed to be zoned as northern agriculture residential with an overlay that would allow mining if the owner gets a special-use permit. The company is seeking a MEA designation on that property as well. Both the planning staff and planning commission have recommended against that request.
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