State and Province News July 2011
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By Aggregates Manager Staff
The Bridgeport Airport Commission is expected to approve the sale of 6.7 acres to Mark IV Construction Co. The Connecticut Post reports that the operator has already put down 10 percent of the $350,000 purchase price. The site is zoned for light industrial use, and a gravel operation, operated by Burns Construction, is already along the same stretch of road. In late May, Mark IV signed an agreement with the city of Bridgeport to end its rock crushing operation on Seaview Ave., to remove its heavy equipment, and to clean up the site by Dec. 1. No permits have yet been filed for operations at the new site.
Martin Marietta’s plan to develop a facility in Deland is likely to be debated in circuit court, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Previously, the Volusia County Council voted 3-3 to overturn the county staff’s decision in favor of Martin Marietta’s request to build a storage and distribution facility. The council’s split vote was considered a denial of an appeal by neighboring landowner Glenwood Properties LLC. Martin Marietta originally sought approval to build an aggregates plant and batch plant, but scaled back its request due to resistance from Glenwood Properties and other neighbors. The company has filed two suits against the county arguing that the appeal and rehearing should never have been heard by the council and requesting a court order to issue permits for the company to start construction.
In mid-May, the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission approved the new General Permit #5, which allows discharges of surface waters of Iowa from quarries and sand and gravel operations. According to Rockbuster News, a publication produced by the Iowa Limestone Producers Association (ILPA), ILPA worked closely with regulators and supports the new permit, which became necessary when previous Total Dissolved Solids limits were replaced by a formula that includes sulfate, chloride, and hardness. The new permit maintains previous regulatory limits regarding discharges of suspended solids and pH. Total suspended solids limits are 45 mg/l per day or a 30-day average of 30 mg/l. The pH must stay between 6.5 and 9.0. Any discharge with a sulfate concentration greater than 1,514 mg/l will push the applicant to an individual permit. In addition, the definition of storm water discharge associated with industrial activity was reduced from 4 acres to 1 acre, reflecting current federal and state regulations.
State Attorney General George Jepsen has joined the battle over a proposal by Century Acquistions to add hot-mix asphalt to its operations in Ashley Falls. According to the Waterbury Republican American, Jepsen wrote a letter to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection attorney Christine LeBel urging the agency to address the concerns of neighboring property owners who “expect to be directly, significantly, and adversely affected by its operations.”
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) allowed heavy loads of sand and gravel on certain highways to help with battling floods on the Missouri River and other waterways, The Independent reports. Truck drivers were allowed to carry up to 10 percent more than their licensed weight, but the loads were not allowed on interstate highways and other roadways that have been designated national defense routes. MoDOT did not require permits for the overweight loads. The waiver was in effect until June 30.
As rising waters and flood threats grew in early June, Lewis & Clark County officials diverted water from Prickly Pear Crick into Helena Sand and Gravel’s sand pit. 9KXLH.com reports that the creek peaked the week of June 5 when an earthen dam broke and sent massive amounts of water into East Helena. An irrigation ditch became a small waterway, and it was that water that was diverted to the Helena Sand and Gravel pit. Water levels in the pit were being monitored on a daily basis.
The Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) was selected to receive the 2011 Gary Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award. In a letter he wrote to OAIMA President Pat Jacomet, Robert Hartzell, executive director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, noted the award recognizes OAIMA’s educational programs and efforts to promote an awareness and appreciation of the mining and minerals industry, which provide “outstanding examples of how to provide the general public with a greater understanding of the industry’s role in our everyday lives.” The award will be presented at the museum’s annual induction banquet on Sept. 10 in Leadville, Colo.
Knife River employees from seven states helped their associates in central North Dakota and western Iowa in early June as flooding impacted homes, businesses, and neighborhoods in those locations. According to a Knife River press release, the company hauled materials to construct massive clay dikes and provided sand for thousands of volunteers who were sandbagging day and night. Employees from Oregon, Idaho, Montana, eastern North Dakota, and northern Michigan came to the aid of their peers in Bismarck and Mandan, N.D., and drove equipment 24 hours a day during the crisis. In Sioux City, Iowa, employees at Knife River worked around the clock to surround the company’s Jebro facility and hauled clay and sand for neighborhoods in danger of flooding. “This is a very tragic time for North Dakota and Iowa as families are being evacuated and homes abandoned. However, the spirit and strength of the residents in these areas is tremendous. To see strangers becoming friends over sandbagging efforts is a common occurrence. Knife River employees are a huge part of this massive work, and I am proud of their efforts and to call them co-workers,” said Bill Schneider, president and CEO. “Knife River and its employees will be a part of this flood fight until the last home isn’t in danger any more in our communities. I am glad that we can be there for our friends, neighbors, and our own employees who are impacted by this unprecedented flooding.”
The Utah Best of State Organization presented Staker Parsons Companies with a medal recognizing the company as the “Best of State” in the Manufacturing-Mineral Mining/Stone Quarrying category at an awards ceremony held June 4. According to the company, the medal is awarded annually to businesses that contribute to a better quality of life in Utah. Scott Parson, Staker Parson CEO, told the judges, “Despite a challenging construction economy in 2010, we succeeded in achieving significant milestones during the year. Our team is committed to safely building the preferred source for our customers, employees, shareholders, and neighbors.”
Last year was a good one for the mineral industry throughout the state, the Sublette Examiner reports. According to final results issued in early June by the state Department of Revenue’s Mineral Tax Division, its mineral valuation came in at $15.5 billion, up 23 percent from 2009 revenues of $12.6 billion. In sand and gravel mining, Campbell County led the state in terms of revenues. “The money from this mineral production is a shot in the arm for our counties that are still coming out of the recession,” said Gov. Matt Mead. “I will continue to push for the state to share its portion of the revenues with cities and counties so they can invest now, when the cost of construction is down and the prospects for economic development are high.”