State and Province News July 2014
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit AggMan.com for daily updates.
Soiland Co.’s Stony Point Rock Quarry expects to lower its energy costs following the installation of a new photovoltaic array of solar panels and a battery system designed to handle peak usage spikes. According to the North Bay Business Journal, a 300-kilowatt system was installed on 2 acres of the property. The series of solar modules uses sun-following technology that is motorized so they can point toward the sun during more hours of the day than stationary arrays. Soland Co. President Mark Soiland told the newspaper that the system produces enough energy to accommodate normal operations, but the battery will help with peaks that can reach 700 kilowatts. This will allow the company to avoid utility bills that increased from $13,00 in April 2012 to $24,000 in May 2012, when the California Public Utilities Commission eliminated the average rate limiter, and penalties were assessed to high-usage commercial consumers. The solar array cost $1.6 million and was funded through a seven-year lease and government tax credits.
Cemex withdrew its application for a zoning change to facilitate development of Four Corners, a proposed 1,196-acre sand mine in Clermont. Sara Engdahl, Cemex’s communication director, told the Daily Commercial that the company wants to “take time to more clearly understand (neighbor) concerns and submit an alternative proposal.” Area residents voiced concerns about traffic, noise, and dust, but community leaders noted concerns about the sand mine being located in a 16,000-acrea area proposed for health, fitness, biomedical research, and related industries. “At the present time, there are many rumors and statistics regarding our project that are false,” Engdahl said. “We encourage open and factual dialogue and look forward to communicating the many benefits Four Corners will have to offer Lake County, as well as dispelling myths about our project.”
Broad River Quarries LLC is suing Rockdale County for knowingly allowing an illegal quarry and treating a competitor more favorably for “arbitrary and capricious” reasons. Rockdale News reports a new Watershed Protection Zoning designation was put into place in 2010, and that designation impacted the property in question. At the time, the existing operation was ‘grandfathered’ and allowed to remain in business. In 2010, Broad River Quarries considered buying the site in a bankruptcy sale, but was informed by the county that the grandfathered zoning status no longer applied. A Rhode Island company purchased the site, and a year later, Rhode Island-based Granites of America was operating a quarry there. The county planning director sent the company a notice that it was operating illegally and issued a cease-and-desist notice, but later that year granted a business license application to the current operator, Georgia Stone Industries, which has the same business address as Granites of America.
Rogers Group announced that it temporarily withdrew its application for a proposed quarry in Americus until it has had an opportunity to address community concerns about the operation. According to WLFI.com, residents were concerned about blasting, wells, and truck traffic. Siobhan Robertson, Rogers Group’s community relations manager, noted that blasting would typically take place only once a week, not 24-hours-a-day as some community residents believed. Sharing information such as blasting schedules and truck traffic are two of the education issues the company would like to address. “We’re not going to rush the community component,” Robertson told the television station. “We want to make sure we’re out there, we listen to everyone, and we move forward with something that’s truly shaped by the community.”
A state inspector visited a quarry owned by Drakes Creek Holding at the end of May to investigate blasting complaints. The Daily News reports that the company began blasting on May 27. In a letter to nearby residents, the company said it would blast between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but residents claimed blasting took place after 2 p.m. Hundreds of Simpson County residents attended community meetings about the quarry and fought its approval. A vice president for Drakes Creek Holdings’ sister company, Charles Deweese Construction, told the newspaper that the state inspector had visited the site, reviewed the records and documents, and “found us to be 100-percent compliant with all regulations.”
S.M. Larusso & Sons wants its West Roxbury quarry to be able to accept soil as part of the quarry’s reclamation process. According to The Boston Globe, the request — originally to include construction fill — has reignited discord between the community and the operation. In response, the city proposed a zoning change that would require it to receive city approval before accepting construction fill. The company offered to stop blasting by 2030 if the operation is allowed to accept dirt and the zoning amendment is withdrawn. Its proposal calls for up to 300 truckloads of dirt to be delivered to the quarry each day.
The Arkansas and Missouri Railroad and APAC Central were the 2014 recipients of Argus’ Win-Win Award. According to Gnomes National News Service, the award recognizes innovation and cooperation in a sometimes adversarial relationship. The rail service allows APAC Central to serve previously inaccessible markets and compete against sand delivered by trucks. “It is like having two or three extra sales people that we do not have,” said Larry Combs, APAC Central account manager. “It really is the greatest partnership going.”
McCoig Materials Inc. agreed to table its application for a special-use permit for six months, Ann Arbor News reports. Township planner John Enos recommended the delay to allow local officials more time to study reports on the project. “It has always been our goal to work as cooperatively with the local units of government as possible,” said Tim Forell, founder of ForEnergy LLC, which represents the operator in its permitting process. “They asked us to delay our application…and, out of respect for the local community, we agreed.” The permit is expected to be heard at the commission’s November or December meeting.
Despite the efforts of more than 80 protestors, the Bernards Township Committee approved a deal with Millington Quarry to allow the operation to accept tipping fees from contractors depositing soil at the site. According to The Bernardsville News, the deal ends six years of litigation between the township and quarry. Mayor John Carpenter told the angry crowd that the deal would limit the amount and duration of soil imported, while allowing the community to require extensive testing. The settlement allows up to 300,000 cubic yards of soil to be accepted at the site through Jan. 31, 2017, with the operation permitted to seek approval for another 52,000 cubic yards prior to that date.
Leesburg Today reports that Luck Stone will provide a $40,000 grant to The Nature Generation. Luck Stone was a key participant in the group’s creation of Education on Energy and the Environment (E3) classroom games, which are made available for free to teachers throughout Virginia and the United States. It is also supporting the next generation of games, which should be released this fall. The grant will improve the technology of the games and make them accessible online. The content will be enhanced to include current environmental topics, encourage critical thinking, and inspire responsible environmental action.
Lexington County officials moved forward with the first revisions to county control over aggregate operations in more than two decades. The State reports the group gave tentative approval to a measure that increases the size of buffers around quarries. The newspaper reports that the proposal grew from Vulcan Materials Co.’s effort to open a quarry on a 300-acre site several years ago. Vulcan would be required to have buffers as large as 1,500 feet with trees and greenery to screen material extraction. Local councilman Frank Townsend called the new county standard “one of the strictest in the nation.”