State and Province News November 2013
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by Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief
The Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of the town of Gurley in the matter of the town versus M&N Materials. According to WAFF.com, the company sued the town after the town blocked it from building a quarry. A Madison County jury ruled the town owed the operator a multi-million settlement, but the state court overruled that decision.
As Syar Quarry seeks a permit to double its annual production and move blasting operations closer to a residential border, its neighbors are speaking out against the project, the Napa Valley Register reports. A draft environmental impact report has been issued for the project, which estimates an increase in output from 1 million tons per year to 2 million tons. A resident who is also an attorney asked for at least a two-month extension to review the report. Napa County Planning Director Hillary Gitelman reportedly said the staff would consider the request once it was received in writing.
Several supervisors expressed frustration following a vote to continue a public hearing on appeals to the Halvorsen Quarry Reclamation Plan until Dec. 10. According to the Times-Standard, county counsel and planning commission staff told the board they needed at least two weeks to review recently submitted information from the North Coast Regional Water Control Board. One supervisor noted that he learned about the delay just before the meeting, while another said, “As much time and effort as we put in over the weekend, I can only imagine how frustrating this is for the applicant who is trying to move a project forward.” The board’s October meeting marked the third time the item was brought before it without a decision.
Two Rockford men accused of stealing hundreds of pounds of wire and tools and damaging machinery at six Ogle County quarries, as well as quarries in neighboring counties, have been arrested. Sauk Valley Media reports that Andrew A. Garkey, 27, and Cecil C. Sexton, 26, were arrested after their truck was pulled over by detectives who searched the vehicle and found several items reported as stolen from a farm earlier in the day. A search of Sexton’s home and several storage sheds led to the recovery of items stolen from several counties, but not all of the stolen property. The cost of thefts and property damage in Ogle County alone are estimated to be valued at more than $40,000. The two men were charged with felony theft in Winnebago County. In Ogle County, they are each charged with two counts of burglary and three counts of felony theft.
A quarry blast drew both a crowd and cheers as it was set off at Hanson Material Service Corp.’s Thornton Quarry. The blast marked the beginning of construction of the Thornton Composite Reservoir, which will hold an estimated 7.9 billion gallons of stormwater and sanitary sewer water from a dozen suburban towns near southern Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, it is the largest portion, to date, of the Deep Tunnel floodwater control system. The project is expected to create the largest reservoir of its kind in the world. Over the last 15 years, the quarry has initiated approximately 4,000 blasts as 76 million tons of limestone were processed. While the portion of the operation north of I-80 will serve to protect the greater Chicago area, mining is expected to continue on Thornton’s southern operation for decades.
In conjunction with Earth Science Week, BMC Aggregate sponsored Sunday at the Quarry on Oct. 6 at its Raymond quarry. Cedar Valley Business reports that the theme was “Our Resourceful Earth.” Programs and activities included collecting rocks, minerals, and fossils with the Black Hawk Gem and Mineral Club; geology of the area with UNI Earth Science staff; watersheds and the 2008 flood with Black Hawk County Soil and Water Conservation District/Hartman Reserve and the Iowa Geological Survey staff; demonstrations of watershed impact on the flood of 2008; and make-and-take activities with products from Raymond Quarry by BMC personnel. In addition, the Iowa Geological Survey unveiled the newest version of the geological map of Black Hawk County.
A Westbrook man who opposed blasting at a quarry near his home was arrested for trespassing. The Associated Press reports that Warren Knight, 53, was arrested on a charge of criminal trespassing on Central Maine Power Co. property, where he was trying to observe Pike Industries during a blast. Knight told the media that he was trying to protect and preserve his nearby family farm. Pike officials noted that they are in full compliance with the relevant regulations and limits.
Queen Anne-based Dependable Sand and Gravel received unanimous approval from the Talbot County Planning Commission to build a 170- by 100-foot building, as well as a waiver of additional landscaping, on its 350-acre parcel in order to facilitate the addition of a recycling component to its business. According to Stardem.com, the company’s recycling plan would allow clean lumber to be ground for landscaping materials and gypsum from sheetrock to be recycled into a product for agricultural use that helps to bind fertilizer to the soil. The vice chairman of the planning commission praised the company for being conscientious in its efforts.
The federal government has proposed removing the 18-acre Ludlow Sand and Gravel site in Oneida County from the national Superfund list of the most hazardous waste sites. The Associated Press reports that the site was put on the list 30 years ago after state regulators found traces of PCBs in the liquid seeping from the landfill operating on the site. Cleanup of the landfill and gravel pit was completed six years ago.
Smithtown Town Board members voted to postpone the date for a public hearing on plans by West Development Partners LLC. According to Newsday, the vote tabled plans that would have set a Nov. 21 date for the hearing on its special exception requests, which involved rock crushing, sand and gravel processing, and concrete product manufacturing, among others. A supervisor said the vote was tabled due to concerns from the town planning director.
The Maxatawny Township supervisors rejected Eastern Industries’ request to rezone property for the Kutztown Quarry. According to The Reading Eagle, 36 acres at the site are zoned for agricultural preservation. The operator wanted to rezone those acres for further development. Supervisor Allen C. Leiby said the request was “out of the question” and blamed the quarry for damage to local roads. He added “it’s time for the quarry to give back to the township.”
Coldspring, formerly known as Cold Spring Granite, is seeking a conditional-use permit to expand operations on its 210-acre site. Sctimes.com reports that the dimension stone operator wants to add a new 30-acre quarry to its operation. The new quarry would be developed in seven phases over 25 to 30 years, depending on the market. Processed granite would be used for local road construction projects. The site’s quarry materials director told the newspaper that the operation is the closest quarry to the Twin Cities that contains high-quality granite for use in roads.
Aggregates and agriculture enjoyed a symbiotic relationship in Mount Jackson when farmer Brett Wightman was experiencing the impact of a severe drought on his crops. Nvdaily.com reports that he turned to an abandoned quarry on his property as the water source for his crops. Wightman, who serves as president of the Virginia Crop Association, noted that his corn required up to 1/4 inch of water per day, or 30,000 gallons per week. The water in the abandoned quarry served his irrigation needs.
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