State and Province News September 2010
Ambiguous rules and neighbor complaints led to an informal agreement between a local businessman and the mayor. Taos News reports that business owners operating near Gill Vigil’s asphalt and gravel business complained to the city council in an effort to have open-air piles of aggregates removed and dust mitigated. Vigil agreed to move material piles to the back of the lot and reduce their size within 30 days. The mayor noted that the city had determined that the business was in compliance in terms of zoning and would approach the matter as a nuisance issue.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking public comments on its proposal to raise fees for its work on certifying that activities requiring licenses and permits comply with water quality standards. The fees would apply to most projects that remove material from, or place material into, navigable state waters, including sand and gravel operations and dredging for navigation channels. DEQ is proposing the fee “to ensure sufficient revenues and staff to implement the 401 certification program, including reducing the time for certification review and increasing technical assistance.” The increased fees would be based on projected program costs rather than volume of material removed or filled. The deadline for comments is Sept. 10. Comments can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
Kim Freeburn, owner of KD Sand & Gravel, Inc., recently diversified the business by adding U-Haul trucks and trailer rentals to the trucking, sand, and gravel company, the Statesman Journal reports. “I added U-Haul products and services because they would provide supplemental income,” Freeburn said of the change to the business, which was founded in 1949 by her grandfather and great uncle.
Infrastructure investment is expected to drop steeply throughout the state, with the exception of the Dallas area, the Dallas Morning News reports. The Texas Transportation Commission released a two-year spending plan that includes about $4.8 billion in contracts for 2011, but only about half that amount during 2012 as the federal stimulus funds disappear and the impact of the disappointing gas receipts is felt. In the state’s 15 transportation districts, only the Dallas district is expected to maintain stable funding. That is due, in large part, to the North Texas Tollway Authority, which paid $3.2 billion in upfront cash after winning the Sam Rayburn Tollway contract in 2007. During the next two years, an estimated $730 million of that money will be spent in the Dallas area.
The Washington State Department of Ecology updated its Sand and Gravel General Permit, which regulates water discharges from sand and gravel operations, quarries, and similar mining operations. It also covers concrete batch plants and hot-mix asphalt operations, as well as stockyards. Approximately 900 sites are covered by the permit, which takes effect Oct. 1. It is posted online at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/sand/index.html
According to The Leader-Telegram, the Chippewa Falls City Council voted 4-2 to sell a 3.2-acre parcel to EOG Resources for its sand processing operations. The land sold for $56,000, or $17,500 per acre. The council rejected the sale of the parcel last year when the offer was $8,000. A representative for the aggregates operator told the council that the land will be used for rail cars, which will decrease the frequency of rail blockages on city streets. By putting the land back on a taxable basis, the sale also offers additional municipal revenue, he noted. The company became the chief investor in the sand plant in May, when it acquired its interests from Canadian Sand & Proppants.