State and Province News December 2010
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
By Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief
The Azusa City Council voted unanimously to hold a special election on Jan. 25, 2011. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that the election, which will feature a referendum on Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan, will cost $60,000 more than if the issue was included on the March ballot. Councilman Angel Carrillo, who is up for re-election in March, initiated the special election. Only Mayor Joe Rocha voted against it. City officials have said a vote of the people could backfire and end up nullifying all mining fees and other benefits negotiated by the city.
Pasco planners agreed to allow developers of a 75-home subdivision near the Hernando County line to mine sand despite objections from nearby residents. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the developers asked for permission to remove 650,000 cubic yards of sand during the next three years. Residents voiced concerns about dust, noise, and traffic, but mining was approved. Permit conditions include restricting hours of operation (9 a.m.-4 p.m., weekdays), repairing damage to any private wells within a 1,500-foot radius of the site, mining in 5-acre increments, and putting up signs to alert residents of truck traffic, among others.
The lack of infrastructure investment is having unexpected consequences for sand and gravel haulers in the state, who are among the truck owners targeted by increased registration fees. Pat McEntee, vice president of Central Paving Co. of Boise, told The Idaho Business Review that the cost of high registration fees and taxes necessary to keep his trucks on the road is difficult to balance against the backdrop of construction costs in an uncertain economy. Idaho Trucking Association President Kathy Fowers told the journal that Idaho companies pay the third-highest registration fees in the country and noted that trucks with heavy loads, such as sand and gravel, pay even more. In 2008, individual companies paid an average of $8,607 in state highway user fees and taxes, plus $8,959 in federal fees for a typical five-axle tractor trailer.
A group of neighbors gathered to share concerns about a potential gravel mine being discussed on the Brunner Farm property, near the Fox River. According to the Chicago Daily Herald, a resident hosted more than 30 community members. Cathy Hurlbut, District 19 forest preserve and county board representative, stressed that the Kane County Forest Preserve Planning and Utilization Committee has discussed mining to create lakes and fishing ponds, but noted that the only gravel being removed would be to facilitate the creation of those bodies of water. A community member said that, while he understood the distinction she was making, he didn’t trust that mining would stop once the lakes and ponds were completed. The meeting, held prior to Nov. 2 elections, also included several candidates, including Jim Shales, Joe Haimann, and Jennifer Barconi, who pledged not to allow mining on the property.
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