State and Province News August 2012
In mid-June, councilors put on hold a vote concerning a rezoning application that would allow Martin Marietta Materials to expand its North Raleigh quarry. According to Raleighpublicrecord.org, the planning commission previously approved the rezoning application, which would allow the company to use the bulk of a 97-acre parcel as a storage area, with eight acres being used to expand mining operations. Neighbors from a nearby subdivision oppose the expansion. A vote was expected at an upcoming meeting.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is pushing regional planning agencies to spend more on highway projects rather than carry over funds from year to year. The Canton Repository reports that ODOT Director Jerry Wray said organizations shouldn’t hold back money intended to fix the state’s aging roads. ODOT is proposing a requirement that they spend 75 percent of their federal transportation funding by 2016 or risk it going to the state. ODOT estimates 17 planning agencies had unspent funds totaling nearly $170 million during the last fiscal year and have spent less than 14 percent of their federal dollars in the last four years.
Despite a year-old report from Gov. Corbett’s advisory panel on transportation, the debate on transportation is stuck in neutral, said the Patriot-News editorial board. The state has more than 4,800 structurally deficient bridges, more than any other state, they wrote. In addition, more than 9,000 miles of state roads need repaving or more significant work. “That’s more than enough mileage to drive coast-to-coast and back if all those roads were laid out together, but it would be a bumpy ride,” they said. With projected gaps in requisite funding growing from $3.5 billion now to $7.2 billion in a decade, a new solution for infrastructure funding is needed, they concluded.
Seeking to expand its operation near the Henrico-Goochland line, Luck Stone has filed for a special permit to expand operations near its site, as well as a special-use permit for its development. According to nbc12.com, Ben Thompson, a land-use development specialist with the company, said the land will be used to create a berm to prevent noise in the nearby neighborhood. While some smaller equipment would be on the site, Thompson told the news outlet that the additional area will not be used for mining.
Wisconsin regulators are seeking civil penalties against Minnesota-based mine operators for two large sand spills. “It’s a whole new world,” Deb Dix, enforcement officer for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said when referring both cases to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for civil action. The two sand spills were among the first in the fledgling hydro-fracking industry to spark regulatory action. According to the Star Tribune, approximately 60 sand mines and 38 processing facilities have opened in western Wisconsin, while many more are in development in southeast Minnesota.
A permit application was filed for a sand and gravel mine in Chippewa County, Chippewa.com reports. The application represents the 11th planned or existing operation in the county, but is not for a frac sand mine. Two parcels make up the proposed 10-acre site, with one of the landowners, Raymond Michels, filing for the permit. The permit request specifies sand and gravel mining with residential development as the post-mining land use. The permit also notes the property would be mined sequentially and reclaimed in progressive stages.
Alberta-based Burnco is one of the first companies in Canada to undergo a harmonized federal and provincial environmental review for a proposed aggregate mine near Squamish, B.C. The Journal of Commerce reports that the company is in the pre-application phase and is preparing a draft Application Information Requirement. Burnco plans to develop a sand and gravel mine in the McNab Valley near Howe Sound. The $60 million project involves construction of a site office, communication building, and worker facilities, as well as upgrades to a dock, boat launch, marine barge dock, fueling facility, and heavy equipment shop. If approved, the operation is expected to produce 1 million to 1.6 million tons per year for the next 20 to 30 years.
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