State and Province News October 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
One size does not fit all seems to be the message being put forth by U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake. “We can strike a balance here between protecting the environment and having economic development,” he said during a meeting with local business leaders, “but we just need the federal government to cooperate.” According to the Mohave Valley Daily News, Arizona and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have wrestled for years over how the Clean Air Act should apply to particulate pollution in Maricopa County, which is out of compliance with federal standards, putting federal transportation funding in jeopardy. The Maricopa Association of Governments in 2007 developed a plan for reducing dust by 5 percent a year, but the EPA hasn’t accepted it. “The EPA simply won’t recognize that Phoenix is not Seattle,” Flake said. “Some air standards that apply in Seattle might not work here.”
The Fresno County Planning Commission approved a proposal from Gerawan Farming to mine an 886-acre mine, as well as construct an asphalt plant, in eastern Fresno County. The request was approved at a meeting held in a ballroom, rather than the regular meeting room, in order to accommodate the crowd of more than 100 residents. The Fresno Bee reports that commissioners cited the county’s need for construction materials as grounds to permit the project, despite overwhelming opposition. State studies indicate that the region is falling far short of the necessary aggregate supply to meet its road and building needs. The most recent estimates from the Department of Conservation show that Fresno County has permitted mining for 71 million tons of aggregates, but will need 629 million tons over the next 50 years. The Carmelita mine is expected to produce 1.25 million tons per year annually throughout its 100-year life.
In early September, Mt. Carmel city officials accepted three bids for the city’s annual road maintenance program. The Daily Republican Register notes that City Commissioner Joe Judge said the list of streets to be improved this year will be finalized in coming weeks. City officials also approved two bids from Mt. Carmel Sand and Gravel and one from Howell Paving to spend more than $173,000 on labor and materials throughout the fall to complete the program.
In late August, Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) was scheduled to visit Waldorf-based Chaney Enterprises, the state’s largest family-owned and operated sand and gravel producer. The Baynet.com reports that Cardin toured a number of state businesses to highlight their success.
Chaney Enterprises has 287 employees and is marking its 50th anniversary in business. Cardin is the chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee and has expressed interest in mining reclamation and land management.
In late July, Worcester Sand and Gravel was the site of the 11th annual truck show, sponsored by the Bay State chapter of the Antique Truck Club of America. According to the Telegram & Gazette, most of the exhibitors used their truck as part of their livelihood. Exhibitor William Thibeault III, who hauls asphalt in his truck, spent part of the day exhibiting the truck and the rest of it showing his family around. More than 170 vehicles took part in the show. It is the fourth year the Trotto family, owners of Worcester Sand and Gravel, has hosted the event.
Attica town officials issued a cease-and-desist order to stop Hillcrest Industries Inc. from washing glass particles at its Attica Sand and Gravel property. According to The Daily News, the action was taken under the town’s zoning law. Supervisor Douglas Patti said that the city had received complaints about the odor from stockpiled glass and that processing of used glass particles is not permitted on the property in terms of the business’ special-use permit. The operator is working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to resolve the issue and has stopped accepting new shipments of glass.
A community group opposing Buie Lakes Plantation’s sand mine in Robeson County is at it again. The Fayetteville Observer reports that Friends of Philadelphus is circulating an online petition. The petition does not seek anything specific, but does advocate term limits for members of the board of commissioners, the body that unanimously approved the mine. The group also has appealed the commissioners’ decision to Robeson County Superior Court. Group member Lynn Locklear told the newspaper that the commissioners “bought it hook, line, and sinker. You’re going to choose them over me, your constituent that voted you into office. You’re either stupid, or you’ve been bought.” This is the same group that contacted me asking that I “help make this public to warn the companies against this farce of a business.” Go to www.aggnman.com and read about my response to their request by clicking here.
The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced that it has recognized Frank Craddock, executive vice president for Cemex, as a winner of the 2012 John P. Gleason, Jr. Leadership Award. The honor, presented at the PCA’s annual fall committee meeting in Chicago, recognizes employees of member companies who have exhibited industry leadership by taking the association in new directions. Awards are made in one of two categories of strategic initiatives: Business Continuity and Market Development. Craddock was recognized in the Market Development category for fostering the creation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Concrete Sustainability Hub, which was established in 2009 with the goal of accelerating emerging breakthroughs in concrete science and engineering, and transferring that science into practice. In addition, Craddock serves on the PCA Board of Directors, PCA Government Affairs Council, PCA PAC Board, and PCA PAC Finance Committee.
Fred Seeman joined North Bend Sand and Gravel as a laborer eight years ago. At the time, he earned $8 per hour. Now, he owns the business, which has been renamed North Bend Materials, and is focusing on customer service. According to the Snoqualmie Valley Record, he plans to carry stone, pavers, railroad ties, topsoil, and manure, in addition to sand and gravel. “Our biggest thing is to take care of the customer,” he said. “Without the public, you can’t survive. We’ve got to take care of each other. Whatever they need, we’re gonna do it, within my power.”
The Chippewa County Planning and Zoning Board approved a conditional-use permit which will allow A-1 Materials to expand its sand and gravel plant in Chippewa County. According to weau.com, some residents complained about the location of a driveway leading into the mine, but were told that, since the driveway is off a state highway, it falls under the state’s jurisdiction.
CN and Superior Silica Sands announced a multi-year agreement to transport frac sand from a new processing plant currently under construction in the northern part of the state. The new site is expected to be able to produce up to 2.4 million tons per year of high-quality frac sand products. CN launched a $35 million project to restore nearly 40 miles of track between Ladysmith and Barron, and will provide rail service to the new plant. “Over the last three years, CN’s frac sand market has grown nearly 70 percent, reaching 35,000 carloads and $100 million in revenue in 2011,” said Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in a joint statement. “We hope that our end-to-end service focus will help us grow this market to become a $300 million business for CN in the next three-to-five year horizon.”
City Sand and Gravel, based in Paradise, Newfoundland, had 25 pounds of explosives and blasting caps stolen, The Telegram reports. An electronic blasting machine was stolen in an earlier, unreported incident. An inspector for the local constabulary told the newspaper that the materials continue to present a threat to public safety — both for the general public and the persons who have the explosives in their possession. He also said the explosives do not require blasting caps or machines to be set off. He estimated that about 70 sticks of explosives were taken in the latest theft. At Aggregates Manager’s press time, the investigation was ongoing.