May 2010 – State and Province News

| Published on May 1, 2010

To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.


Arizona

Maricopa County’s Air Quality Department staff presented a draft policy that proposes that applicants for new and modified permits conduct an impact analysis of PM10 dust emissions on air quality. The Arizona Republic reports that if the emission is equal to or exceeds a significant impact level, then a cumulative analysis kicks in. County Permit Division Manager Doug Erwin told the newspaper that the policy “will give us the authority to deny permits.” The county exceeds the federal standard for dust emissions, and the policy is part of a county “5-percent plan” submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval. Members of the sand and gravel industry oppose the policy. “This policy must be based on science and not assumptions,” said Steve Trussell, executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association. “We are absolutely opposed to it because of what it will unintentionally create.”


California

Graniterock is hosting its Third Annual Construction Career Day on May 14 at its A.R. Wilson Quarry in Aromas. The day is designed for Santa Cruz County high school students and will highlight career paths in the construction industry. The day will include a tour of the quarry. Bruce W. Woolpert, president and CEO of Graniterock, will address the students. Afterward, more than 25 different professionals will offer presentations on various construction and green building occupations.


California

Residents in Davenport will pay substantially more for utilities following the closure of Cemex’s plant, which had long managed and largely paid for the community’s water and sewer service. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, residents and businesses could now pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more each year. The county’s Public Works records indicate that sewer rates could increase nearly 75 percent, with a flat residential fee of approximately $2,500 per year. Water rates could rise 10 percent, with a flat annual fee of $1,500 for households. The charges are levied on twice-a-year property tax bills. Businesses could face even more significant hikes.


Illinois

The Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP) is asking aggregate producers and other construction materials operators to lobby state Senators against H.B. 6112. The bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Bob Flider (D-101, Decatur) was picked up in the Senate by Sen. James Meeks (D-15, Calumet City). According to the association’s newsletter, the bill provides that workers who transport aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, hot-mix asphalt, and/or excavated materials to or from a public works project should receive the same wages and benefits paid to a trucker directly employed on a public works project. Further, it provides that workers who transport non-aggregates materials or equipment are not deemed to be employed upon public works and, therefore, are not required to be paid prevailing wages. IAAP said the bill will “substantially increase direct costs associated with building and maintaining schools, roads, and other public works.” It also contends that the bill is unconstitutional.


Maryland

Vulcan Materials Co.’s Havre de Grace Quarry in Havre de Grace received an Excellence in Community Relations Gold Award from the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association for its efforts with work with its Adopt-a-School program, partnering programs with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County, working with the city of Havre de Grace on several ventures, hosting a Community Outreach Day, and offering plant tours. “Since the arrival of Vulcan to our community, they have become a great partner to Havre de Grace,” said Mayor Wayne H. Dougherty. “Vulcan is a partner who has made a very positive impact for the citizens and very supportive of our youth, schools, volunteer groups, and local government.


Massachusetts

Westminster Business Park owners are seeking a sand and gravel mining permit to extend local streets and allow potential clients easier access to industrial lots inside the park, Selectman Laila Michaud told the Sentinel & Enterprise. Bob Hakala, co-owner of the business park, said the new roadway will allow easier access to 12 lots inside the heavily wooded business park. The permit will allow the developers to remove aggregates from certain sections of the business park to allow for construction of the street. A local environmental advocate said that the owners are just looking for a way to excavate more sand and gravel, not for potential businesses.


Montana

Schellinger Construction Co. is seeking to extend the hours of operation of its crushing and mining operation off Interstate 15 near Hardy Creek. The Great Falls Tribune reports the hours in the original permit were 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The company is asking the state to approve an amendment to the permit that would expand the hours from 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday. A representative for the state Department of Environmental Quality’s Industrial & Energy Minerals Division said the amendments have not been approved, but that the state would require the company to shield its lighting fixtures to minimize the impact of artificial lighting. An expansion of hours would not apply to materials haulage, which would be restricted to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Ohio

The Shelly Co., an Oldcastle Materials Inc. company, received numerous awards for excellence in its commitment to community relations and outreach programs from the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association. According to the Zanesville Time-Recorder, the company’s Belle Center, Columbus Limestone, and East Fultonham quarries received gold awards; its Maumee and Celina quarries won silver awards; and its Auglaize and Scott quarries received bronze awards.


Pennsylvania

Lawrence County Commissioners planned meetings with state and federal legislative representatives in an effort to preserve about 100 jobs at the Wampum Cemex plant. The Beaver County Times reports that the company laid off 82 people in late March and ceased production at the facility. Cemex spokesperson Jennifer Borgen told the newspaper that additional layoffs are likely, but 13 to 15 people will be kept on to maintain the production machines and run the Wampum facility as a distribution and shipping center. She said the closure was originally intended to be temporary, but the company’s forecast called for the economy to remain sluggish for months to come. “We looked at the market and thought this would be longer than we thought it would be,” Borgen said. “So we made the hard decision to end production.”


Texas

Vulcan Materials Co. hopes to create a stockyard in Dallas County on a site zoned for industrial use, according to DallasNews.com. In a prepared statement, the company said it has met with neighbors several times and worked to address their objections. “As a result of these meetings, we have made changes to our site plan in order to improve appearance, reduce noise, and mitigate the impact of truck traffic,” the statement said. “We are committed to continuing to work with the community to ensure that our facility meets the needs of a growing economy and the community.” The Vulcan statement also noted that the stockyard would make building roads and other infrastructure in eastern Dallas County cheaper and more efficient.


Virginia

Vulcan Materials Co.’s Springfield Quarry in Glen Allen received an Excellence in Community Relations Silver Award from the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association for its efforts with Henrico School District, the local Boy Scouts, and operation tours. “Vulcan Materials has been an exceptional and generous business partner with our schools, Rivers Edge Elementary School…,” said Johnna Riley, school principal. “Through their financial support and hands-on labor, we have two paths (a boardwalk and a gravel path) leading to the watershed in our back school yard, which provides teachers the ability to access the grounds for environmental instruction and provides a positive watershed experience for our students, and we are able to provide recognition to the classrooms for positive student behavior.”


Washington

A gravel mine, two quarries, and a concrete batch plant proposed west of Kitsap Lake in Bremerton have been approved by the Kitsap County hearing examiner. The Kitsap Sun reports that Hearing Examiner Kim Allen ruled that mining operations would be consistent with Kitsap County zoning and would not unduly harm the environment, provided that the project complies with nearly 200 conditions during construction and operation. Conditions include hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with no truck travel before 8 a.m.; a daily total number of trips by all vehicles not to exceed 186; mining in 10-acre increments; crushers must be located in an excavated area below the surrounding terrain; a 20-foot berm must be built as a sound barrier for the nearest neighbors; and storm water must be directed into a series of ponds designed to infiltrate water into the ground. In addition, several requirements address dust suppression and air quality monitoring.


Washington

A gravel mine, two quarries, and a concrete batch plant proposed west of Kitsap Lake in Bremerton have been approved by the Kitsap County hearing examiner. The Kitsap Sun reports that Hearing Examiner Kim Allen ruled that mining operations would be consistent with Kitsap County zoning and would not unduly harm the environment, provided that the project complies with nearly 200 conditions during construction and operation. Conditions include hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with no truck travel before 8 a.m.; a daily total number of trips by all vehicles not to exceed 186; mining in 10-acre increments; crushers must be located in an excavated area below the surrounding terrain; a 20-foot berm must be built as a sound barrier for the nearest neighbors; and storm water must be directed into a series of ponds designed to infiltrate water into the ground. In addition, several requirements address dust suppression and air quality monitoring.


Oregon

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) officials lauded Egge Sand & Gravel for a turnaround in its behavior with regulators, noting that after a recent minor spill, an Egge official immediately notified regulators, accepted culpability, and took — in the regulator’s view — “extraordinary efforts to ensure the violation would not be repeated. According to The Register Guard, the operation (purchased in 2006 by Oldcastle Materials) had a couple employees who decided to wash 10-inch cobble stones for a customer and washed it on the ground with a water truck, turning it over with a loader. When Dale Fortner, the company’s local environmental and land use manager, saw what happened, he stopped the activity, shut down the pump, and notified DEQ. Since then, the operation has retrained yard staff, erected signs marking clean water areas, and made maps explaining the system.


Pennsylvania

Richmond Township supervisors holding a series of closed-door meetings regarding contentious plans for a quarry expansion may be doing so in violation of the Sunshine Act. The Reading Eagle reports that the supervisors announced meetings with neighboring municipalities, Lehigh Cement officials, and members of the East Penn Valley citizens group, which is opposed to the proposed expansion. The town solicitor said he could not divulge what was being discussed other than to say that discussions dealt with litigation about the quarry, noting that a zoning hearing constitutes active litigation. Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, told the newspaper that the body can deliberate during an executive session or meet with its attorney, but neither appears to be the case with these meetings.


Texas

In response to neighbor complaints about a proposed 2,000-acre quarry, Austin City Council members asked the city staff to look for ways to more effectively regulate projects near the city limits. According to the American-Statesman, Texas Industries Inc. contends that it has met all applicable laws for the site. State law gives cities some authority outside their boundaries through “extraterritorial jurisdictions” created by the Legislature to protect neighborhoods near city limits from incompatible use, but is mainly limited to ensuring the project does not pollute local waterways.


Washington

Menzel Lake Gravel’s plan to nearly triple the size of its pit faces opposition in Granite Falls. The Daily Herald reports that the operator has applied to Snohomish County to increase its operation by 91 acres, with an additional 141 acres around the perimeter set aside for wetlands protection. The operation is not inside the city limits, so the county rather than the city will decide on its request, but city officials are fighting the expansion. The proposal would increase truck trips allowed in and out of the pit over the course of a year to an average of 200 per day, from the current 68 per day. Rob Hild, owner-manager of Menzel Lake Gravel, said while the size of the pit would grow, the operation would not. It is a family operation with six employees, including Hild.


Washington

The Port of Tacoma approved the sale of its Maytown property to Maytown Sand and Gravel for $17 million, The News Tribune reports. The move was delayed at the end of 2009 because of concerns raised by an environmental group opposed to mining in the habitat. Thurston County officials have said that the port is not in compliance with the gravel mining special-use permit, and they haven’t granted go-ahead on mining.


West Virginia

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has scheduled an informal conference for April 14 at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Ridge Intermediate School in Gerrardstown. According to the Charleston Daily Mail, the state regulators are seeking information on private water intakes in streams near a shale quarry proposed by North Mountain Shale LLC. The operator is seeking a pollution discharge permit from the DEP for a quarry on its 100-acre site that would discharge treated water and storm water into tributaries of Mill Creek.


Wisconsin

Two Kraemer Co. employees, Richard Marino and Roger Osegard, answered questions about its proposed operation during a recent Kinnickinnic Town board meeting. River Falls Journal reports that the company would like to develop two parcels of land currently owned by Cudd Trust Co. and develop a 40,000-ton-per-year operation. Mining would take place in 3-acre increments. Residents voiced concerns about horses being spooked and environmental issues. A town supervisor requested the names of homeowners near Kraemer’s other quarry sites as references.


Wisconsin

The Hudson Plan Commission recommended approval of a 9.6-acre expansion of the Mimbach limestone quarry over objections of neighboring property owners. According to the Hudson Star-Observer, a member of the Plan Commission recognized Milestone Materials management, a subsidiary of Mathy Construction Co., as “good and responsible people” and the motion carried with no objections. The Hudson City Council will have final say on whether to amend Milestone Materials’ conditional use permit for the quarry to clear its path for expansion.

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