State and Province News January 2011
Flathead News Group reports that a zoning proposal aimed at limiting the size of extractive industries in the North Fork failed to win approval by the Flathead County Commissioners. About 95 percent of the North Fork is federal or state land, so the proposed zoning text amendment would have applied to less than 14,000 acres of private land. Commissioner Joe Brenneman’s motion to approve a zoning text amendment that would limit the size of sand and gravel operations in the North Fork to 5 acres and 20,000 tons per year died for a lack of a second.
Four camouflage-painted bulldozers leveled a sand stockpile in Litchfield where the town used to mine gravel. According to the Kennebec Journal, members of the 133rd Engineering Battalion of the Maine Army National Guard performed three days of work as a training exercise for heavy-equipment operators. The city was able to begin the reclamation process on its property, which takes up approximately 50 acres in the center of town.
Owners of Laurel Sand and Gravel and 1325 G Street Associates agreed to pay a $170,000 fine issued against the companies in July by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for sediment and water-pollution violations. According to The Laurel Leader, the penalty, which was finalized in court documents dated Oct. 25, will be paid to MDE’s Clean Water Fund for charges MDE officials lodged against the companies that included “…unlawful discharges of wastewater, failure to follow an approved erosion and sediment control plan, and failure to comply with the mining permit at four current and former surface mining sites.”
The Worcester County Commissioners are writing rules to regulate the movement of large trucks in Pocomoke County, the Daily Times reports. Merrill Lockfaw, commissioner-elect for District 1, served as county road superintendent for 19 years. He wrote a letter to commissioners and expressed concerns for safety as well as the economic impact of heavy trucks on county bridges and roads. To circumvent a requirement that vehicles be stopped and weighed by a commercial vehicle inspector before being held accountable for breaking state law, the commissioners have discussed regulating gross vehicle weight instead. Commissioner Virgil Shockley told the newspaper that there would be no impact on farm vehicles or trucks making deliveries in the area, only through traffic.
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