March 2010 – State and Province News
In early February, Ash Grove Cement Co. announced plans to reopen its Jefferson County plant and call back approximately 50 workers. The Helena Independent Record notes that the workers were expected to report for work in mid-February as the demand for cement picks up after a sluggish two years. The newspaper reported that, although the worker recall “might not be the ultimate signal that the recession is turning the corner…it sure is a good indicator that the litmus test of the upcoming construction season — the demand for cement products — is promising.”
Las Vegas Paving gave formal notice that it will challenge a federal judge who ordered Clark County to award Fisher Sand and Gravel a contract to improve the northern Las Vegas Beltway. According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, the appeal is expected to be filed in late March with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, with the main issue revolving around whether the judge overreached by imposing a bid award rather than letting county commissioners handle it. An attorney for Las Vegas Paving estimates that it will be a year before the appeal is heard. Until then, the county can’t hire a contractor to improve the Beltway section in the middle of the dispute.
Nearly 40 Weare residents attended a planning board meeting asking the board not to endorse an amendment on the town warrant allowing a proposed asphalt plant. According to the Concord Monitor, the residents were successful in their mission as the board voted 4-1 not to recommend the amendment. Chris Bolton, owner and operator of Mt. Williams Inc., a sand and gravel company, backed the amendment which would allow him to site an asphalt plant at the same location as his gravel pit. Under his petition, the plant would be permitted as an accessory use to the existing gravel operation, and its size would be limited to 25 percent of the combined annual sales of both plants. The amendment will still appear before voters on the warrant, but without the planning board’s endorsement.
Borough officials and quarry owners — at odds over a three-year operating license renewal — agreed on what information should be included in an engineering report necessary for permit approval. NorthJersey.com reports that Saddle Mountain LP anticipates mining below 370 feet above sea level, and city officials are looking for a protocol that shows there will be no negative effects from mining at that depth. Jeremy Vogel, attorney for Saddle Mountain, said the company wants to cooperate with concerns about its effect on the area. “We have the right to go below 370 feet and don’t need to do anything more,” Vogel said, “but in an effort to show that we want to accommodate everyone, we will submit the protocol.”
Dickinson-based Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. was recognized by the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Rocky Mountain District with three awards for safety achievements in 2008. The Bismarck Tribune reports that the awards are for man-hours worked without a lost-time accident and for being citation-free during two mandatory inspections. Three Fisher locations were recognized: the Billings, Mont., site managed by Jim Rahr; the Glendive, Mont., site managed by Loren Boese, and a portable North Dakota operation managed by Joel Meyer. The company also received 13 Safe Mine Achievement Awards for 2008.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Cemex Inc. plans a temporary layoff of 124 workers at its cement plant in Wampum beginning March 19. The company will continue to produce cement until the layoffs begin and will stockpile cement for future shipping. Jennifer Borgen, a spokesman at the company’s Houston headquarters, told the newspaper the company is shutting down cement production because of the drop in cement demand.
In a 3-2 vote, Travis County Commissioners Court approved the site development permits for Texas Industries’ proposed Hornsby Bend sand and gravel operation near Webberville. The Austin Chronicle notes that the vote had been postponed at an earlier meeting after the Fort Worth office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it had been alerted by an area resident about the development and wanted to meet with TXI to review the project for potential Corps jurisdiction under the U.S. Clean Water Act. The Corps’ Stephen Brooks later wrote TXI that “We have determined this project will not involve activities subject to the requirement of Section 404 [of the Clean Water Act] or Section 10 [of the Rivers and Harbors Act]. Therefore, it will not require Department of the Army authorization.” The area resident, Ryan Metz — an environmental consultant — called the Corps’ decision “disappointing to say the least.”
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