September 10, 2012
Regular readers of Aggregates Manager know that I often cover permitting situations in the State and Province News section of each issue. As a rule, I take a “facts, and just the facts” approach to news reporting. Apparently, I erred too far toward unbiased journalism, and a NIMBY group determined that I might be a receptive audience to the following email. It arrived Friday afternoon, just days after the September issue mailed.
Subject: Buie Lakes Plantation LLC
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 13:20:09 -0400
As background, here’s what I wrote in the North Carolina section of September’s State and Province News.
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.
Now, I don’t know anyone at Buie Lakes or the citizens group, but I have learned a thing or two about the permitting process. During the 20+ years I’ve covered the aggregate industry, I’ve seen how much homework is required. Operators are required to navigate detailed paperwork, environmental impact studies, and miles of red tape. Most importantly, they have to present information in a factual manner because those facts are regularly challenged by outraged neighbors.
Rather than take a fact-based response to the permit, Friends of Phildelphus throws around accusations of “back room deals” and “crooked deals.” None of these unsubstantiated claims furthers its cause. Instead, this email simply underscores the irrational approach of most NIMBYs.
Of the entire email, most puzzling is their request for me to “help make this public to warn the companies against this farce of a business.” When it comes to trash talking about aggregate producers, I’ll put on my own NIMBY hat (just this once) and say: “Not in My Back Yard!”