State and Province News May 2012
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
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department selected the winning bids on $92.3 million in road projects, including a $32.2 million bid for a section of the planned 38-mile highway that will eventually connect Interstate 530 around Pine Bluff with the proposed I-69 in the southeastern part of the state. Graves and Associates of Pine Bluff won that award. Martin Marietta Materials’ Hot Springs site was awarded a $10 million bid to surface I-30 from the Sevier Street exit to U.S. 70 southwest of Benton.
Don Roland, business manager for Graniterock’s Aggregate Division, was voted by the Santa Cruz City Council to serve on the Transportation and Public Works Commission. The commission advises the city council in formulating and implementing policy which includes planning, design, installation, and maintenance of public works and transportation projects. According to a company press release, Roland will serve a four-year term. He has been with the company for 15 years and served in roles ranging from accounting to computer technology to operations. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.
Cemex’s original deadline for negotiations over its mining project in Soledad Canyon has passed, but it continues discussions with area officials on an alternate proposal. According to The Signal, Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill that would direct the federal government to sell 10,000 acres of federally owned land outside Victorville and use a portion of the proceeds to buy back contracts the Bureau of Land Management granted to Cemex more than 20 years ago. “Cemex continues to fully support the Boxer legislation and has participated in ongoing discussions with the city throughout this process,” Cemex spokesman Sara Engdahl told the newspaper. “Cemex is committed to keeping the lines of communication open with the city in hopes of finding a mutual beneficial solution.” While the company, the community, and environmental groups such as the Sierra Club want the bill passed, it has not yet been able to make it through the Congressional quagmire for a vote.
Aggregate Industries US, a Holcim Group Co., announced that AIUS West Region (WR), formerly the West Central Region, received The Colorado Contractors Association’s top Traveling Safety Trophy for the second time in five years. The business unit was honored for zero lost-time incidents and zero recordable incidents at the association’s annual awards breakfast. “Receiving the Traveling Safety Trophy twice in five years is a great honor,” said Bernard Terver, president and CEO of AIUS WR. “I want to thank everyone in the contracting and aggregates division for their exemplary safety performance. Aggregate Industries takes great care that our employees safely return to their families after each and every shift, and this recognition is a wonderful validation of those efforts.”
Indian River County’s plan to replenish the 6.6 miles of beach using sand mined from an inland site took longer and cost more than using sand dredged from the ocean. According to the Press Journal, the increased time and expense were largely attributed to federal agencies imposing more regulatory measures on the project, which created about 50 local jobs. The quality of the sand, however, turned out better than the offshore variety, one town councilman told the newspaper. The project is being financed through a 1-cent sales tax, a tourist tax, and a $4.7 million grant.
The state Land Board unanimously agreed to renew a five-year lease for Kaschmitter Enterprises Inc. to remove gravel from a dry area of the Salmon River riverbed. The Lewiston Morning Tribune reports the lease and permit were first granted in 1955 and have been renewed in five-year intervals. This year, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts urged the board to delay the approval and require more environmental impact studies. The Idaho Department of State Land recommended renewing the lease. The mineral programs manager for the agency noted there was no data submitted during the public comment period that showed adverse effects from the operation on either the streambed or recreational values. Mining takes place during a two-week period each winter, long after recreational and fishing seasons have ended.
The Dartmouth site of a former sand and gravel operation may become home to one of the largest solar panel farms in the state, according to The Standard-Times. No Fossil Fuel Dartmouth Solar, LLC plans to construct a 21,000-panel, six-megawatt facility on the site. If constructed, it is estimated to generate enough power for 6,000 homes. Construction of the project is expected to take four months. The owner of the solar company filed her application for “by-right” construction, which doesn’t require site-plan review or public hearing, shortly before a town meeting set to amend a town bylaw which doesn’t require further scrutiny of large-scale solar installations. Previous smaller installations drew the wrath of residents and sparked the town meeting.
APAC Kansas City’s 2011 acquisition of five quarries formerly operated by Everett Quarries is paying dividends for new highway projects, the St. Joseph News-Press reports. David Guillaume, president of APAC Missouri and Kansas City, told the newspaper that the new ownership enhances a pledge to carry out roadwork in the region. The company’s $2.23 million bid to repave a portion of the westbound lanes of U.S. Highway 36 was awarded by the Missouri Department of Transportation. “We’re committed to the local economy,” Guillaume said, noting that, while current economic conditions create a difficult environment, he hopes that state investment in infrastructure will continue.
Columbia-based CSG Holdings Inc. faces a fine of up to $532,500 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for alleged storm water violations at its former Columbia plant. According to the EPA complaint, alleged violations include unauthorized discharge of process water; unauthorized discharge of storm water associated with industrial activity; failure to apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination Permit or for coverage under the Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities; and failure to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure plan.
Eau Claire County supervisors will re-examine a proposal to exempt a proposed Otter Creek silica sand mine from the county’s six-month mining moratorium. The Leader-Telegram reports that the county board denied High Country Sand’s project during the same meeting in which it approved an exemption for Hi-Crush Proppants’ Bridge Creek mine proposal. One supervisor said he expected the proposal to be approved. In January, High Country sued the county, looking to overturn the moratorium. According to the news report, its attorney has said it will drop the lawsuit if the exemption is approved.
Students at Davidson Elementary started a “spirit rock” tradition with a 19,000-pound rock donated by Vulcan Materials Co.’s Concord operation and put in place by Layton Tree and Crane Service. According to DavidsonNews.net, the students and staff will use the rock to promote school spirit. Parents can also reserve the rock by the day to celebrate student birthdays and other mile markers. The spirit rock’s first message was painted to show the school’s appreciation to Vulcan and the crane service.
A man forced his way into a trailer on Vulcan Materials Co.’s Woodbridge plant, stole a truck, and then used it to ram open a gate, PotomacLocal.com reports. The suspect, Joseph M. Sharkey, found the truck keys in the trailer and tried to use the truck to flee the site, ramming the gates when he found they were locked. He was charged with burglary, grand larceny auto, destruction of property, driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a breath test, and driving on a revoked license.
Rochester-based Martin Sand & Gravel announced that it will close its Construction and Service operation. According to The Chronicle, it will continue to sell aggregates through its sister company, Lakeside Industries, Inc. In a press release, the business owners said the decision to lay off eight employees was a difficult one. “This was a very difficult decision, and we understand the significant impact this will have on them and their families,” the release stated. “We want to thank them for their long-term hard work, dedication, and loyalty to Martin Sand & Gravel.”
Lafarge Canada applied for a license from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to expand its West Paris Pit by an additional 245 acres. According to Brant News, the company hopes to grow production from 850,000 metric tons per year to 1.5 million metric tons per year. Chris Galway, Lafarge Canada’s land manager for southwestern Ontario, told the newspaper that it has completed the hydrogeological, natural environment, and traffic studies for the proposed expansion. It is waiting on an official plan and zoning bylaw amendments from Brant County.
Ontario’s Aggregate Resources Act, first passed in 1990 and last updated in 1997, is heading for another review, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources. An all-party standing committee will review the act’s consultation process, location selection, operations, and reclamation, as well as best practices in the industry, fees and royalties, and protecting resources and recycling. A government report shows that province residents use 164 million metric tons of aggregate per year and projects a 13-percent increase during the next two decades as high-quality reserves diminish. Recent large-scale mine developments have faced intense scrutiny. “Aggregate resources are essential for modern society,” said Michael Gravelle, minister of Natural Resources. “We all have a shared responsibility for better management of our limited aggregate resources. The all-party committee provides a wonderful opportunity to ensure that we all have a say in the future management of this vital resource.”