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New Housing Starts Jump

Nationwide housing starts rose 14.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 596,000 units in January, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department. The gain was due to a 77.7 percent increase in the multifamily sector, where significant month-to-month swings in activity are not unusual and where new building has been below expectations for the past several months, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Meanwhile, single-family housing starts remained virtually flat for the month, with a 1.0 percent decline.

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Vulcan Materials Receives Habitat Conservation Award

By Mark S. Kuhar

Employees at Vulcan Materials Co.’s Stafford Quarry in Virginia received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 22nd Annual Symposium, The Business of Biodiversity.

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Great Azuza Permitting Dispute Not Over Yet

The ongoing dispute Between Vulcan Materials and the town of Duarte, Calif., has been decided at the ballot box, and it’s Vulcan in a landslide. But the permitting battle is not over yet.

Residents of neighboring Azusa overwhelming voted in support of a new mining plan during a special election. In a lopsided win for Vulcan Materials Co.'s Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan, residents voted 1,972 in favor of the plan with 945 opposed. The election was a major victory for the mining plan, its supporters and the four council members who voted in favor of it.

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Hanson Site in North Carolina Faces Expansion Opposition

A proposal by Hanson Aggregates Southeast, a division of Germany-based HeidelbergCement Group, to rezone an area near North Raleigh, N.C., is facing community opposition. The proposal would allow Hanson to expand its granite quarry west into 142 acres of land owned by a housing developer.

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MSHA Releases Pattern of Violations Proposed Rule

Rulemaking Raises More Questions Than It Answers.

By Adele Abrams

On Feb. 2, 2011, the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) issued its anticipated proposal to drastically revise its Pattern of Violations (POV) criteria, aimed at allowing the agency to crack down more quickly on mine operators it deems to be “chronic violators” of mandatory standards who have “demonstrated a disregard for the safety and health of miners.”

Read more: MSHA Releases Pattern of Violations Proposed Rule