State and Province News May 2011
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
At press time, a judge seemed unlikely to accept Duarte’s legal efforts to prevent plans for Vulcan’s 80-acre mine development along its border with Azusa. Norwalk Superior Court Judge Thomas McKnew tentatively ruled against Duarte’s argument to nullify an environmental review document prepared for the mining project by Azusa. Whittier Daily News reports that McKnew said Duarte’s argument that Azusa failed to correctly review alternative mine plans was worth exploring. He specifically noted that there isn’t much case law regarding how alternative plans had to be compared and said he could use some clarity on the topic. The judge also concluded that Azusa made an honest effort to account for the impacts of moving the mining operation. Azusa’s city attorney said she was happy with the judge’s tentative ruling.
Neighbors of a sand and gravel pit are threatening legal action against the town of Simsbury over increased activity at a Sand Hill Road sand and gravel pit following its purchase by a new owner. The town’s director of community planning told The Hartford Courant that the pit has been in operation since before the town’s zoning regulations were adopted in 1933, and it is considered “pre-existing” — although non-conforming — with current regulations. Neighbors say that dirt and materials are being trucked into the site, and they want all activity stopped until the site’s usage is reviewed. A town selectman described the town as “stuck in the middle between neighbors who want to live there and an owner who has a legal right to use his property.”
In a report published in the Idaho Business Review, the Idaho Mining Association said its members employed more than 2,800 people and generated nearly $96 million in tax, license, and royalty revenues for state and local governments last year. Its members had a payroll of $251 million and paid $216 million to purchase goods and services from Idaho vendors.
Bray Marine and Greater Cincinnati Marine (GCM) merged to form C&B Marine. According to the SNL Daily Coal Report, Bray specialized in fleeting and coal-cleaning operations, while GCM had sand and gravel operations and hopper and deck barges. Assets for the new company include 16 towboats, 50 barges, multiple deck floats for clamshell unloading, and several port and dock facilities.
A proposed asphalt plant is causing debate among residents in Gravesville, according to a report from WKTV.com. Material Sand and Gravel wants to locate the plant at its sand and gravel site. While some residents voiced concerns about a negative impact on health and the bucolic character of the hamlet, current Material Sand and Gravel employees marched in support of the plant and noted that it would bring jobs and economic growth to the area.
Holcim (US) Inc. told state officials that it will end production at its plant in Catskill. The Business Review reports that the plant’s terminal will stay open to continue to ship products to customers. “The mothballing of Catskill is a direct result of continuing economic challenges in the region,” Holcim President and CEO Bernard Terver told the journal. He said the shutdown would proceed in a manner that kept its operating permits and equipment available for potential future use, but there is no timeline for reopening the facility. The company reports that 103 salaried and hourly positions will be eliminated as a result of the plant closure.
A new TRIP report, “Future Mobility in Ohio: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” shows that 9 percent of Ohio’s major roads are rated in poor condition and an additional 17 percent are in mediocre condition. In addition, 10 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 14 percent are functionally obsolete. The research group estimates that Ohio roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands, or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s drivers approximately $6.5 billion annually in the form of the financial cost of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs due to driving on deteriorated roads, and time and fuel lost due to congestion-related delays. The full report is available at www.tripnet.org
Approximately 140 Sumter County residents signed a petition against a mine plan submitted by Bill Carter to the Sumter City-County Board of Zoning. According to The Item, Carter is seeking approval to mine 4.99 acres of his property along Frierson Road in Dalzell. Despite criticism from residents who voiced concerns about safety and property values, the mine was given unanimous approval by the Sumter City-County Board of Zoning Appeals. The path is now clear for the mine to be built.
Shelby County Commissioners rejected a proposed sand and gravel mining project in the county’s northeast corner following testimony from residents concerned about heavy trucks on the area’s narrow roads. The Commercial Appeal reports that three commissioners voted against Memphis Stone & Gravel Co.’s application, while another six abstained. “We are a 100-year-old local business, and this is our last major resource available in Shelby County,” said Alan Parks, the company’s vice president. “In our view, we think that we can make this project safe and be in compliance with the land-use ordinance just like we have for almost four decades at our existing site nearby.” Previously, one commissioner suggested several measures to make the company responsible for road widening and other safety improvements in the area (in addition to improvements the company had already agreed to), but commissioners voted against his amendments.
At press time, Miles Sand and Gravel was one of three finalists in the corporate business category for annual awards given by the Thurston County Economic Development Council. “We are thrilled to be a finalist,” Lisa Kittilsby, co-owner of the company, told the Nisqually Valley News. “Our company is family-owned and is currently operated by fourth-generation owners. We love being part of the community. It’s quite an honor to be nominated.”
A controversial plan to develop a gravel mine in southwest Edmonton could reach city council this spring. The Edmonton Journal reports that Kanata Metis Cultural Enterprises Ltd. is seeking permission to mine gravel on a 79-acre portion of its property along the North Saskatchewan River. Qualico, the previous property owner, also sought permission to mine the site and faced intense public opposition, including a meeting attended by approximately 800 opponents. On a positive note, the manager of the city’s current planning branch told the newspaper that city councilors might want to hear about the plans for jobs and housing the mine is intended to create. He also noted that there are two sides to the environmental issue because the operation would reduce or eliminate the need for hundreds or thousands of loads of gravel being hauled great distances.
Rocky View County councilors, in the province of Alberta, voted unanimously to hire a gravel company — Copper Stone Crushing Ltd. — for a bid of $764,000. According to the Cochrane Times, the company will provide contract crushing and stockpiling of more than 240,000 tons of gravel in the county’s five gravel pits. That material will be used for road maintenance and construction programs.