Asphalt Plant Opposed
Residents opposed to the idea of an asphalt plant setting up shop just outside of the Marshall, N.C., town limits voiced concerns to the Madison County Board of Commissioners about negative impacts they believe the project could have on the wider community, according to the Asheville Citizen Times.
Though the five-man panel remained largely silent on the issue during and after their Jan. 8 session, representatives of the paving firm exploring the potential facility confirmed two days after the meeting that they were “close” to filing the paperwork needing approval from state and local regulators to operate an asphalt plant.
Concerned citizens, many wearing “No asphalt plant” buttons, lined the aisles and filled the seats inside the A-B Tech lecture hall for the commissioners’ monthly meeting. Speakers voiced concerns about negative health and environmental impacts, increased truck traffic, decreased property values and damaged tourism business, among many other worries.
Massachusetts Quarry Seeks Permit
A public hearing was held in South Hadley, Mass., regarding a special permit application for Chicopee Concrete Service to expand operations at its Hadley Street (Route 47) quarry, according to MassLive.
One resident asked the board for “interchanges” between the Planning Department and Chicopee Concrete, particularly any exchanges about increased truck traffic to the site, perhaps 160 extra trips daily. He said the public should have access to up-to-date information, including the average number of trucks entering and exiting the site.
In an email, William DeLuca, who chairs the town’s Conservation Commission, stated Town of South Hadley bylaws could justifiably deny the permit to Chicopee Concrete. According to DeLuca, the company intends to remove 2 million cu. yd. of material from the site.
“The very geological feature that is responsible for recharging our water supply and no one can provide us with any clear evidence that the mine expansion will not have a detrimental effect on the aquifer or the Connecticut River,” wrote DeLuca.
Environmental Issues on Tap in Vermont
In Vermont, the Commission on Act 250 has proposed an overhaul that includes promoting development in downtown areas, protecting forest blocks and further restricting ridgeline development, according to the Vermont Digger.
Other proposed changes include:
- Amending the ecosystem protection criteria to require development to better keep blocks of forest intact.
- Repealing the exemption for development related to forestry, logging and farming for elevations under 2,500 ft. in sensitive ecological areas
- Revising the appeals process so that both Act 250 and Agency of Natural Resources permit appeals go through an environmental review board instead of through court.
- Phasing in repeal of the Act 250 exemption for slate quarries.
The commission has been working “closely” with administration of Governor Phil Scott (R) in developing the recommendations.
Community Votes to Reopen Quarry
According to the Free Press, area readers believe the city of Mankato, Minn., should allow Jordan Sands to resume mining at Jefferson Quarry, if the results of an online survey are accurate. Out of 241 total respondents, 131 believed Mankato should allow mining to resume at Jefferson Quarry, the site of two separate incidents in 2017 that shook the city and blasted rocks into nearby houses, respectively. Another 110 believed the city should continue its limitations on blasting at the site.
City officials suspended the company’s blasting permit within hours of the August 2017 incident that hurled rocks at several houses. They later made the suspension indefinite and set a list of requirements for Jordan Sands to meet before they could resume mining.
Going into 2017, company officials had been talking about the future reuse of the Jefferson Quarry and the mined-out Mankato Quarry, which is near Riverfront Park and Old Town. The Coughlan Companies, which own the quarries, had indicated interest in donating some of the dramatic landscape to the city for a park or other public purpose and community members had an endless list of creative ideas for their reuse.