California Quarry Back on Track?

Two years after losing its bid to operate a rock quarry in rural Santa Margarita, Calif., the owners of a proposed quarry filed a new application for a reduced project, according to Cal Coast News. In the revised application, truck trips are reduced by 64 percent.

In 2014, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted 3-2 to reject a proposed mining project that would have produced up to 500,000 tpy of aggregate on a property along Highway 58. At the time, county counsel recommended the commissioners not certify the project’s environmental impact report causing some to question if the county’s legal department was biased against the project.

If the current permit is approved, long-time San Luis Obispo County residents Steve Souza and Darren Shetler can construct the infrastructure for and operate a 41-acre rock quarry on the property.

Illinois Lawmakers Seeking Water Protection

Lawmakers and environmentalists from parts of Illinois that rely on groundwater want tougher monitoring of porous rock quarries that are being “reclaimed” by filling them with construction waste, saying they want to regulate them to make sure drinking water doesn’t become contaminated with toxins.

On the other side, road builders, engineers and others in the construction business argue that Illinois has sufficient quarry regulations and additional testing would be too expensive. House Bill 2880 would “release from permitting requirements a quarry-waste operator who transfers part of a quarry-disposal site to someone else,” according to the Associated Press.

The proposed rules appeared stymied this spring. But Attorney General Lisa Madigan is trying to force previously dismissed groundwater monitoring on the quarries. She argued in a state appellate court brief that testing underground aquifers is necessary to protect drinking water “from the ongoing threat posed by the placement of unchecked materials directly into the water table.”

Texas Sand Plant Fighting NIMBY Groups

Sand Mining of Texas received its permit-by-rule to build a wet sand plant on the corner of Old Applewhite Road and Bruce Road, just north of Leming, Texas, according to the Pleasanton Express.

Approximately 20 concerned residents and members of local NIMBY groups shared their concerns at a three-hour meeting on May 11, at the Pleasanton Civic Center. The question and answer meeting was hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, at the request of State Rep. Ryan Guillen.

Discussion and possible action on a request for a rehearing by NIMBY group “Not Just Dust” on production permit amendments for the plant is on the agenda for a future meeting.

Canadian Quarry Faces Groundwater Issues

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) board of directors received a new staff report on a proposed quarry outside of Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, on April 28. The report noted the GRCA has asked that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Wellington County and Guelph-Eramosa Township, to defer consideration of the application until James Dick Construction Ltd. (JDCL) completes additional groundwater analysis, according to The Wellington Adviser.

The report outlined several steps for this analysis, including groundwater modeling and an updated ecological assessment. The new review was made after JDCL’s second application to Guelph-Eramosa Township. A quarry application first came to council in December 2012 and was sent to the Ontario Municipal Board by JDCL officials in the summer of 2015 when the township did not make a decision within the required time frame.

Ohio Quarry Faces More Pushback on Lime Mixing

According to the Sandusky Register, lawyers for the Ottawa County, Ohio, prosecutor and for a quarry in Benton Township, Ohio, clashed over whether a judge should shut down operations at the Rocky Ridge Quarry. Common Pleas Judge Bruce Winters is expected to decide soon whether to grant Ottawa County’s request for an injunction.

Winters issued a temporary restraining order that lasts for two weeks when Ottawa County Prosecutor James VanEerten filed a lawsuit seeking to halt operations at the quarry, which has been recycling lime from a filter plant, mixing it with soil. The judge is now being asked to decide whether to replace that order with a preliminary injunction that would shut down operations indefinitely while legal battles over it continue.

The quarry is depositing the spent lime from a Toledo, Ohio, water filter plant, which it’s allowed to do under an Ohio EPA permit. It has applied separately for another Ohio EPA permit to deposit the lime waste in the quarry itself, filling it up.

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