State and Province News September 2013
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Despite community opposition, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved San Rafael Rock Quarry’s plans to recycle asphalt from Marin roads projects. The Marin Independent Journal reports that Supervisor Susan Adams brought the motion forward, but added the permit would not be extended in two years unless the quarry complies with all 173 conditions that regulate its operations. “I know I’m going to make some of my friends not happy,” Adams told the newspaper. “If we do not pass this, my fear is that the county will not have the resources” to complete a $3 million local road project.
A neighborhood group, the Americus Area Community Coalition, generated petitions from 400 residents and gathered 125 attendees at a meeting of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as it reviewed a proposal from Rogers Group for a quarry on Old State Road 25 near Americus. According to jconline.com, DNR officials focused on four issues during the meeting: the efficiency and capacity of the floodway once the project is complete; the safety of life and property in the area; the impact on fish, wildlife, and botanical resources; and the cumulative effects of the project. A decision is not expected until fall. A spokesperson for the neighborhood group told WLFI that, if DNR approves the plans, the group will appeal the decision.
Mitchell Sand and Gravel LLC recently applied for an operating permit to continue operations of the asphalt plant at its Winchester site. According to SentinelSource.com, the permit would allow operations through 2018. While aggregate has been mined at the site since 1965, the asphalt plant began operations in August 2011 under a temporary permit. Sine then, some minor changes have been made to the proposed final permit, including a reduction in emissions.
Whitehall Township officials want to impose a tipping fee on every truckload of sand being brought to a local quarry from New Jersey. WFMZ reports that officials discussed negotiating such a fee with the Ciccone family, which owns two local quarries. The family’s smaller operation is accepting sand that was pushed into the Newark Bay by Hurricane Sandy. The sand is being dredged to keep the bay’s shipping lanes opened. The state Department of Environmental Protection said that the owners have a mining reclamation permit to accept the sand, but the township wants the fee to offset potential damage from tri-axle trucks transporting the sand.
The borough of Ringwood is set to face off against the Saddle Mountain quarry in Superior Court. NorthJersey.com reports the local government is disputing the depths of extraction at the operation. Two decades ago, the city engaged in two other battles with the operator and was allowed to place limitations such as noise control on its site. A 1996 court order provides guidelines for the depth limits and future reclamation of the site. The borough contends that the order limits excavation to 370 feet above sea level, while the company says no such restriction is included in the order. The borough’s lawsuit says the company is digging past 290 feet above sea level.
Community protest led to the re-opening of the observation area at the Mount Airy quarry. According to mtairynews.com, North Carolina Granite Corp., owner of an operation said to be the world’s largest open-faced granite quarry, closed the area a year ago due to safety concerns. Previously, a 6-foot fence separated the observation site from the quarry area, but people were going around the fence to stand near the edge of the highwall, a safety violation. Before re-opening the site, the operation installed an 8-foot fence topped with barbed wire. The observation area is now open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At the end of the year, dredging on the Allegheny River will come to a complete end. Triblive.com reports that only one company currently dredges along the river — Hanson Aggregates. Tom Chizmadia, senior vice president of government affairs for Lehigh Hanson Inc., told the news agency that it will not renew its dredging permit at the end of the year. “Right now, there are not any economically permittable reserves, given the regulatory restrictions on where you can and cannot dredge,” he said. Those regulations include buffer zones around riverbanks, islands, locks, and dams. Operators must also search for and avoid endangered mussels in the river.
Martin Marietta Materials officials have filed a petition to rezone just under 400 acres of company property from agricultural to heavy industrial in order to expand operations at its Jamestown Quarry. The Post and Courier reports that Martin Marietta purchased the property about a year ago. While a number of residents attended public hearings to protest the request, a retired principal told the newspaper that his church, located across from the operation, used to experience sinkholes when previous owners operated the quarry. He noted that the quarry has done an about-face in terms of working with the community since being acquired by Martin Marietta.
Western Farm Products, LLC is appealing a decision by Sumner County Chancellor Tom Gray that denies a zoning change it needs to develop a quarry in Castalian Springs. The Tennessean reports that the chancellor upheld the Sumner County Zoning Board’s decision to deny the change. An attorney for the county told the newspaper that the county believes it has a valid position. The appeals process is expected to last about a year. An attorney for the operator has said his client was prepared to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
One of four burglars involved in a series of 2011 robberies, including a sand and gravel business, was sentenced to 7.5 years of probation. According to Stevens Point Journal Media, Ben Jovanovich received the sentence for a series of 17 burglaries. Charges also included recklessly endangering safety; a charge stemming from the theft of wire stolen from machines at Wimme Sand and Gravel that could have resulted in employees being electrocuted. He is the third burglar to be sentenced. Previously, Nick Luke received a 12-year prison sentence, and Zachary Deyo received a 10-year sentence. Prosecutors sought a prison sentence for Jovanovich. The fourth burglar, Bradley Stemper, will be sentenced Oct. 2.
Dufferin Aggregates has offered $1.5 million worth of aggregate to the County of Brant as it continues discussions on road upgrades for its property on Watts Pond Road in Paris. The Brantford Expositor reports that Dufferin’s permit requires it to rebuild portions of the road leading to its entrance, however a spokesperson for Dufferin explained that the operator is willing to go beyond what’s required and provide the material to the county to be used over a 10-year cycle. The discussion is expected to continue during the public works committee’s next meeting.
Plans to build a megaquarry an hour and a half north of Toronto appear to be dead following an agreement for the sale of the land. Boston-based financier Baupost Group agreed to sell 6,500 acres in Dufferin County to Bonnefield Financial, an Ottawa-based farmland investment group. According to the Ottawa Citizen, financial details were not disclosed, but Bonnefield President Tom Eisenhauer acknowledged that the price was more than $50 million. If the 2,200-acre operation had been developed, it would have been the largest quarry in Canada, the newspaper reports.