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State & Province News
Posted By admin On September 1, 2012 @ 6:00 am In Articles,Departments,State & Province News | No Comments
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By Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief
Stanislaus County officials are considering Calaveras Material Inc.’s plan to mine 436 acres over the next 50 years. The Modesto Bee reports that the operator would like to mine 62 million tons of sand and gravel from two sites on its plot. If approved, mining would begin on the 315-acre northern site and would include a 28-acre plant with equipment to process aggregate, concrete, and asphalt, as well as recycle asphalt and concrete. Later, mining would move to the southern 121 acres. A draft environmental impact report was being developed at Aggregates Manager’s press time.
A fast-moving grass fire sparked a blaze at Cemex’s cement plant in Redlands, causing approximately $500,000 in damages. According to The Sun, the fire started the morning of July 8 and was still going at 6 p.m. that evening. More than 80 fire personnel from various agencies helped contain the blaze with 15 engines and four water tankers. The insides of the buildings were wiped out, according to the local fire chief, but there were no reports of injuries.
Vulcan Materials Co. sponsors and presents an annual award to a member of Olgethorpe University’s faculty each year. The university reports that the award is presented to a faculty member who demonstrates a high level of commitment to teaching, student success, and campus life. This year’s recipient, Dr. Beth Roberts, was honored at the university’s commencement ceremony in May with the Vulcan Materials Co. Award for Teaching Excellence and Leadership. Prior to her retirement, she was a Vera A. Milner Professor of Education and director of the Masters of Arts in Teaching — Early Childhood Education Program at the university.
The Peoria Times reports that a local quarry may soon be transformed into a residential community. Dirt 101 Investors LLC filed an application for a special-use permit to fill in the 40-year-old quarry with clean fill and develop it with medium-density residential units. In its application for the proposed project, to be named 115th Avenue & Northern Reclamation, the operator stated, “We believe that an operation like 115th Avenue and Northern Reclamation is the next logical step in the lifecycle of the subject property. Its current blighted conditions are the result of mining operations that were not reclaimed properly, and, in order for the property to be cleaned up to once again benefit the city of Peoria and its residents, it needs to be redeveloped.”
Minot’s summer paving program experienced a hiccup when the low-bid contract winner for work on Jackass Annie Road suddenly closed its doors. According to the Sun Journal, selectmen learned of R.C. and Sons’ sudden shutdown and turned to the next lowest bidder, Pike Industries, to complete the work. Pike Industries stepped in and completed the work, while the town administrator worked with Dayton Sand and Gravel, a subcontractor that performed reclamation work on the road, to ensure it was paid for its services.
Some Washington County Supervisors are taking heat from constituents for scuttling a $46,000 offer from a furniture manufacturer to purchase county-owned property that had been seized for back taxes. The Post-Star reports that supervisors rejected the bid because they thought they could get a higher price at auction. The plan backfired when only one bid was submitted. Local contractor Ruben Ellsworth, who owns an adjacent gravel pit, purchased the property for $40,000.
Following concessions designed to control noise and truck traffic, Raleigh City Council members voted 5 to 2 to approve Martin Marietta’s plans to expand its site. According to The News Observer, blasting will be limited to an 8-acre area, while the remaining 89 acres will be used for overburden storage and berms. The company negotiated the agreement over an eight-month period and agreed to the creation of berms, use of a water truck to control dust, and limitation of blasting to hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Robeson County officials took opposing views on Buie Lakes Plantation LLC’s proposed mining operation. According to The Robesonian, County Manager Ricky Harris says he sees the upside of the proposal, noting that it will create jobs and does not require tax relief. John McNeill, mayor of Red Springs, says he doesn’t believe the company will follow through with plans to construct a $22 million processing plant. Despite the controversy and approximately 150 people attending its public meeting, Robeson County Commissioners unanimously granted its request for a conditional-use permit.
Phillyburbs.com  reports that sinkholes were among the topics discussed at the first annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Solebury Board of Supervisors, and area residents, regarding New Hope Crushed Stone Quarry’s 80-year-old operation. The meetings are part of a settlement agreement that resulted when the board of supervisors dropped out of a legal battle with the quarry over its plans to expand operations. Michael Kutney, a DEP geologist who oversees New Hope Crushed Stone, said the state’s environmental data does not correlate the sinkholes or neighbor’s dry water wells with mining operations. In fact, he told attendees, “the sinkholes opened up long before the quarry (water) pumping would have had an impact.” Regardless of DEP data, the quarry has hired a consultant to repair the sinkholes before school begins in the fall. Although the board of supervisors dropped its lawsuit, the Solebury School and Primrose Creek Watershed Association are still pursuing legal action against the operation.
Houston-based Cemex introduced the Ecoperating seal to identify products and services in its portfolio of building solutions said to have an outstanding sustainability performance. According to the company, Ecoperating is a seal that was developed through a rigorous internal process that measures the environmental or social impact of a range of its building products, including products like low CO2 cement or concrete, services such as paperless invoicing, and the increased use of alternative fuels derived from industrial, agricultural, and residential waste. The seal was introduced in June in a number of Cemex’s cement and concrete products in Croatia. The company has not listed a date for the availability of Ecoperating products in the United States.
Chantilly Crushed Stone Inc. may close the doors on a half-century-old stone quarry in Loudoun County. The Washington Business Journal reports that it applied to the county to rezone its 338-acre property to make way for a mixed use development comprised of homes, offices, shops, and hotels. If approved, it plans a multi-phase development with the first phase consisting of more than 3 million square feet of commercial space and 2,500 homes.
Caledonia public works committee members unanimously approved an annual renewal of Vulcan Materials Co.’s explosive use permit. According to the Caledonia Patch, the company blasts two to three times a week at its operation along Three Mile Road. During the meeting, Plant Manager D.J. Leemon explained how the company uses a consultant to gather baseline information on blast vibrations in order to assess its impact — or lack thereof — on neighboring properties.
The Dunn County Board of Adjustment rejected FG Mineral’s request to allow its frac sand mine to increase the number of truckloads hauled each day. The Leader-Telegram reports that the operator wanted to increase its maximum number of trucks from 80 to 100 per day. The majority of the board members indicated that they did not believe the company proved that there was a substantial enough change in its operations to warrant a modification of the special-use permit.
Wood County highway commissioners sent hauling agreements to three Marshfield frac sand companies, The Marshfield News reports. The agreements require operators to pay non-negotiable rates for road upgrades and set an Aug. 1, 2012, effective date for the contracts. CARBO Ceramics, Completion Industrial Minerals, and Panther Creek Sand received the agreements. A fourth area operator, Northern Frac, signed a road usage agreement last fall. The agreements require each company to pay the county a fee ranging from 13 to 40 cents per-ton-per-mile. According to county estimates, Completion would owe about $2.9 million, while CARBO and Panther Creek, which have similar routes, would owe a combined $5.84 million. Northern Frac’s share is estimated at $1.39 million. Lance Pliml, Wood County Board chairman, told the newspaper that the contracts are not unique and “the fees are not onerous.”
Based on concerns from the Waterloo Region’s agricultural community regarding the number of gravel pits being planned in the area, a review of the Resources Act and a public hearing was scheduled for the Kitchener area. According to 570news.com, Ontario’s Standing Committee on General Government has been scheduled to tour three gravel pits, including one that has been reclaimed.
Protestors plan to take to the stage. In a new twist on NIMBYism, Everybody’s Theatre Co. is planning a community-based production that would allow anyone who wants to participate to play a role. The group’s artistic director, Dale Hamilton, told The Guelph Mercury that research and development will begin this fall, and the project will come together over the next two years. “When I heard about the goings-on up at Honeywood…it seemed inevitable and a no-brainer in some way that there should be a community-engaged theater project connected to the mega-quarry proposal,” Hamilton said.
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