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MSHA Expands Use of Injunctive Relief

Will Injunctions Become More Commonplace As Enforcement Tools?

By Adele Abrams

Despite press reports in non-mining media to the contrary, the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) has always been a strong agency, with many enforcement weapons in its arsenal. In addition to mandating inspections at least twice a year (surface) and quarterly (underground), the 1977 Mine Act also provided MSHA with warrantless search authority, no statute of limitations on violations, personal prosecutorial power under Section 110, and a strict liability framework for adjudication. None of these powers, by comparison, are possessed by MSHA’s sister agency, OSHA.

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Buffalo Crushed Stone Granted Expansion

A state Supreme Court judge ruled that Buffalo Crushed Stone, Cheektowaga, N.Y., has the right to expand its mining operations. It’s a victory for the aggregates producer, but some  town leaders say it’s a loss for Cheektowaga, which is now considering an appeal and a new lawyer.

According to the Buffalo News, Judge Joseph R. Glownia ruled that Buffalo Crushed Stone’s mining rights includes a parcel known as “25D,” which is about 15 to 20 additional acres at the western edge of the mine.

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Hanson Quarry Expansion Proposal Faces Opposition

Residents of Raleigh, N.C., turned out in Raleigh City Council chambers to protest plans for expansion of Hanson Aggregates’ Crabtree Quarry. Hanson would like about 170 acres of land currently zoned as residential to be rezoned industrial so it can continue aggregates operations at the plant.

According to news reports, the expansion would move the quarry closer to established subdivisions and some people who live near the site say it would destroy the environment as well as property values.

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Martin Marietta Greenfield Quarry Opposed

A group of residents of Maple Hill, N.C., take exception to a proposal by Martin Marietta Materials to open a 1,800-acre quarry in their town. The Onslow County Zoning Board of Adjustment postponed action on the request to grant a special-use permit request for the limestone mine, which would be located off Highway 50.

According to the Jacksonville, N.C., Daily News, lawyers on both sides, five expert consultants representing Martin Marietta, and about 100 residents opposed to the plan are expected at the third meeting on the issue, which will be moved from the zoning office to the Onslow County Superior Courthouse because of the expected number of participants.

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Joliet Approves Vulcan Rezoning Request

In Joliet, Ill., city council approved a rezoning request by Vulcan Materials. The expansion will allow quarry operations to continue for another five to seven years, according to city officials.

According to Vulcan, the 10-acre site is on a larger parcel, which is segregated from the surrounding area by screens and land berms. This isolates it from surrounding residences and a school.

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