State and Province News December 2012
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
Jeffrey Lee Sykes faces charges of unoccupied burglary, grand theft, possession of burglary tools, and criminal mischief following his arrest at Cemex’s operation on Pug Mill Road in Kissimmee. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Sykes was caught in an undercover burglary sting at the site. Detectives who set up at the operation because of burglaries there spotted him entering a fenced portion of the property with “a bag of burglary tools and copper wiring” the newspaper reports.
On Oct. 10, a 55-year-old contract painter with 35 years of experience was killed at a kaolin and ball clay operation. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, he was standing on the bottom of a 40-foot high, 50-foot diameter tank that was open to the atmosphere and covered with mesh cloth material. He was spraying coal tar on the inside walls of the tank and was found unconscious by co-workers. He was recovered by emergency personnel and pronounced dead at a hospital.
Mississippi Sand has received the necessary permits for a silica sand mine next to Starved Rock State Park, the News Tribune reports. The permits include provisions for pollution control measures such as baghouses, application of water, building enclosures, paving, and sweeping. “In complying with the applicable laws and regulations, the Illinois EPA is confident that this facility will not have a significant effect on ambient air quality,” the agency noted in a press release.
Pike Industries won a long-term zoning dispute that will allow the company to continue blasting at its site. According to Mainebiz, the Westbrook City Council voted to change zoning to include performance standards for the quarry that align with an agreement reached by Pike and neighboring business Idexx Laboratories, which complained that its blasting was affecting the laboratory’s ability to manufacture sensitive scientific instruments. That agreement was subsequently challenged by two other neighboring businesses, and that challenge was partially upheld by the state Supreme Judicial Court. The court found that the city couldn’t legally enforce limitations on quarry operations without passing performance standards, such as details on when and how often it could blast. Those performance standards are now in place.
Rocky Bullard III, president of Michigan Mining LLC, told The Daily News of Iron Mountain that he would like to clean up the company’s former 2,200-acre Groveland Mine property in the Upper Peninsula’s Dickinson County and convert it to an aggregate mine. The former iron pellet mine was closed in 1981, but has rail and road access. At its height, the mine employed 500 people.
Police in Brooklyn Center arrested seven protestors at a conference on silica sand mining. According to Associated Press reports, the protestors were arrested after they climbed on top of a bus scheduled to carry conference participants to tour silica sand mines in Wisconsin. The protestors climbed on top of the buses and displayed anti-mining banners. The seven were charged with unlawful assembly and released.
The Lafayette quarry formerly known as Limescrest is now owned by Braen Family and doing business as Braen Stone of Sparta. The operation was started by Thomas Edison more than 100 years ago, according to The Sparta Independent.
A pair of former gravel pits may be part of the solution to Austin’s water supply concerns. The Austin American-Statesman reports that the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has spent six months trying to determine how to capture water collecting downriver. Earlier this year, LCRA inundated the two pits with more than 2,000 acre-feet of water. Each acre-foot, the agency says, could supply water to approximately three Austin households per year. If the project is successful, it could be expanded to include construction of up to three reservoirs in the lower basin, with each storing approximately 20,000 acre-feet of water.
Two men were hospitalized after a tree fell on top of them. According to KLTV.com, the two were taking down a tree at Emory-based Moody’s Sand and Gravel. As they worked to cut the tree down, it crashed down on them. The men, whose names and conditions were not disclosed at the time of the accident, were air lifted to a Tyler hospital.
Dummerston’s Development Review Board granted a 20-year permit for a new gravel pit, the Brattleboro Reformer reports. The newspaper indicated that, even though state Act 250 clearance is necessary, “the board’s decision is a significant step forward for a plan that will provide both Dummerston and Putney with a much-needed, steady supply of gravel for decades.” Selectman Tom Bodett told the newspaper that the towns’ joint gravel supply is running “critically low” at the pit in Dummerston. Last year, the town signed an agreement with Renaud Gravel Inc. to create a new pit near the towns’ existing gravel operation. The pit will be on land owned by Renaud, and trucks would use a facility also owned by Renaud to access the road. Permit conditions include stockpiling of material at the pit, neighbor notification of blasting, and installation of a 6-foot security fence.
The body of a boy who was playing with friends at Vulcan Materials’ Prince George quarry has been recovered. Clacy Sullivan slipped into the water and didn’t resurface, according to NBC12.com. Police told the news outlet that divers found the boy’s body about 50 yards offshore. There were no indications of foul play.
The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board rejected an appeal from Concrete Nor’West, saying that the operator failed to prove that the Whatcom County Council erred in turning down its request to place a “minerals resources” designation on Eddy’s Mountain, a 1,570-foot hill on land adjacent to an existing pit. The Bellingham Herald reports that the council rejected the designation even though the land met criteria for gravel quality, as well as distance from residential areas and wells. The hearings board ruled that, even though the criteria were met, the council was not obligated to designate the land for mining and that it was justified in citing public opposition to the designation because the county is required to consider whether changes in land use will serve the public interest. An attorney for the operator said it might appeal the ruling.
A sand hauler was fined more than $3,500 for driving an overweight sand truck on a Wood County road shortly after the county’s new weight limits took effect. According to The Marshfield News, a truck owned by Marawood Transport, a division of Marawood Construction Services Inc., was stopped while carrying a 74,580-pound load. The new weight limits require trucks with loads of more than 48,000 pounds to have a permit from the county’s highway department. Marawood co-owner Mitch Schindler told the newspaper that he believes the truck is allowed to drive on the roadways because it has a permit to haul aggregate. He said the county highway department considered it frac sand, but it wasn’t because it hadn’t been processed. At press time, the county had scheduled talks with Marawood to discuss the situation.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that its biennial budget request to the Department of Administration asks for two additional air program staff as part of its effort to expand its management of natural resources in and around the state’s industrial sand sites. “We understand the growing concern for environmental protection as this industry continues to expand,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp in an agency press release. “We are committed to dedicating staff time and resources to ensure we protect Wisconsin’s public health and our natural resource treasures.” If approved, the staff members would work on compliance and permitting issues around the state.
R.W. Tomlinson Ltd. acquired Ottawa-based Burnside Sand and Gravel Ltd., the Ottawa Business Journal reports. The acquisition is the third in a string of purchases. Tomlinson Vice President Kevin Cinq-Mars said demand for more fully integrated contracts from its customers was driving it to purchase ancillary businesses, such as two that specialize in sewer and water main projects.
The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is backing Stockwell Sand and Gravel’s proposal to establish a recycling facility for waste asphalt and concrete next to its gravel pit in East Porpoise Bay, British Columbia. According to Coast Reporter, the operator has applied for permits from the Ministry of Environment, but legislation requires the regional district to also authorize the project under its approved solid waste management plan. The SCRD’s solid waste management plan monitoring advisory committee recommended support for the project at its September meeting, and the board passed a formal motion supporting facility authorization during its October meeting. Approval now goes to the Ministry of Environment.