State and Province News August 2011
Following approval of a gravel mining operation by the Lane County Board of Commissioners, opponents plan to fight the mine on the state level. According to The Register-Guard, about 40 landowners and residents have joined Families for a Quarry-Free Neighborhood. In 2007, mining applicants Donald Overholser and Rodney Mathews applied for county approval of an 18-acre quarry. The project was approved by the planning director in 2010 with some conditions to address issues such as road improvements, hours of operation, truck size, speeds, and number of daily hauling trips. The mine applicant appealed the road improvements, and the hearing official affirmed the planning director’s decision, but removed some limitations including truck speed and number of trips. The board of directors upheld that decision, and opponents are now appealing to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.
A New Hope couple, Jim and Kathy Lyons, have organized a citizens group — New Hope Residents Association — to urge state officials to deny a permit for the New Hope Crushed Stone and Lime quarry. According to The Intelligencer, the quarry is seeking approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to dig to depths of 170 feet, a 50-foot increase from its current level. The DEP is reviewing its request. In the meantime, the New Hope Council president told the newspaper that the council may consider sending a letter supporting the community group’s resistance. The group also turned to Rep. Bernie O’Neill and Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, both of whom have supported its cause.
Industrial Asphalt’s KBDJ Conservation Land & Quarry has implemented a dry dust suppression system at its Hays County quarry. According to Hays Free Press, new equipment and technology are reducing dust emissions by up to 35 percent, while reducing water usage by at least 80 percent. “Dry dust suppression helps protect two natural resources of great value to our neighbors — fresh water and clean air — allowing our company to continue providing locally sourced raw materials that are the building blocks for our region,” KBDJ President Jill Shackelford told the media. The quarry is also using enclosed conveyors to minimize airborne dust.
A new state law, based on HB 571, takes effect on Sept. 1. It requires aggregate operators to register their facilities by Sept. 1, 2012, with inspections beginning Sept. 1, 2015. The law is intended to eliminate the impact of rogue operators and would assess permit fees of about $550, The Houston Chronicle reports. Registration fees — of less than $1,000 — would be assessed to operators. Sites that are not registered will face fines of between $5,000 and $10,000 per year, with fines up to $25,000 if they remain unregistered for a three-year period. “This brought together a lot of people who normally work on the opposite end of the spectrum,” Richard Szecsy, president of the Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, told the newspaper. “One important thing to note is that the aggregate industry did want this bill. We want these unlicensed operators out.”
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