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A Quarry Ranks Among Most-Unwanted Local Projects

By Mark S. Kuhar

Nearly 60 percent of Americans say they would oppose a new aggregate quarry project in their hometown, making it the third most-unwanted type of local development project, the 2011 Saint Index survey found.

The Saint Index is conducted annually by The Saint Consulting Group to track and quantify the politics of land use, including who actively opposes and supports real estate projects and why.

Among various types of development projects, opposition to a local quarry (59 percent) trails only a landfill or a casino, the nationwide survey on attitudes about real estate development and the politics of land discovered.

Fifty-nine percent of American adults said they would oppose a quarry if it were proposed in their community. A local landfill project is opposed by 76 percent of American adults, while 74 percent said they’d oppose a casino.

Sixty-four percent of Americans said they support Congress increasing funding for road, bridge and highway infrastructure projects.

The 2011 U.S. Saint Index involved interviews with 1,000 American adults. The new results send a clear message to quarry developers, according to Christopher M. Hopkins, vice president-aggregates for The Saint Consulting Group, which conducts the annual Saint Index survey to track who opposes projects and why.

“The high level of opposition to a quarry we’ve found in six years of results shows people are inclined to believe the worst about an aggregate operation,” Hopkins said.

“That means misinformation can quickly derail a new project or expansion. Emotion-based opposition arguments will find sympathetic audiences if they go unchallenged. It is absolutely essential for aggregate developers to reach out to neighbors quickly with accurate information, then build a network of supporters.”

Opposition to a local quarry project remained unchanged from 2010 at 59 percent, but is well below the peak opposition of 76 percent in 2007, according to the Saint Index results. Thirty-six percent of Americans said they would support a quarry project if it were proposed in their community.