Southern Aggregates fighting petition for mine location

Brian Ethridge

August 19, 2014

Sand_and_gravel_extractionSouthern Aggregates is currently fighting a petition with 400 signatures from residents of Watson, Louisiana,  over a proposed location for a sand and gravel mine.

The company has plans to excavate sand and gravel for commercial sale. Its proposal would include excavation from three mining sites spread throughout the area. In addition to the three mines, the proposal included demanding plants, a material processing plant, an office, truck scales and multiple road access points.

Kevin Black, a representative for Southern Aggregates, met with the community in hopes of addressing the community’s concerns. Black says the operation would last eight years at most and noted that the company uses a wet process to reduce dust. Southern Aggregates would also create vegetative berms around the site to keep noise levels down.

Many residents wanted to know why the company wants to build mining operations within 200 feet of their homes.

“We have to go where the gravel is,” Black said. “It doesn’t come to us.”

In reply to flooding and stormwater runoff concerns, Black says the company would use ponds to keep water on-site and would only discharge water under stormy conditions.

Regardless of Black’s assurances, some residents refuse to believe anything he says. The company was cited just last month for violating Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality regulation regarding water discharges in another operation it owns. Residents were also angry because seven months went by from the time the company applied for its permits until the community was informed of the mining plans.

There was one resident who stepped up in favor of Southern Aggregates. The man brought up a good point by saying property owners should not be prevented from making money from their land, regardless if some of his neighbors disagree.

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