CEMEX MINE FACING CLOSURE
In a March 17 letter to Cemex, the California Coastal Commission informed the company that its sand mining operation in Marina, Calif., is in violation of both the California Coastal Act and the city of Marina’s Land Use Plan. The letter, written by Acting Executive Director John Ainsworth, orders Cemex to shut the mine down and restore the property, or face fines of several thousand dollars a day, according to the Monterey County Weekly.
And though a legal battle may be in the offing, it’s hard to overstate the impact on the coastline if – or perhaps when – the mine is ultimately shut down: Southern Monterey Bay has the highest coastal erosion rate in the state, and retired Naval Postgraduate School professor Ed Thornton, a coastal engineer, has long argued that the alarming erosion rate can be attributed to a primary culprit – the sand mine in Marina.
Cemex has until April 6 to respond with a “statement of defense,” in which the company can admit or deny the Coastal Act violations alleged in the letter.
Lisa Haage, the commission’s chief of enforcement, said she’s unsure whether Cemex will fight the issue in court.
Texas Quarry Seeks Permit
San Antonio-based Capitol Aggregates bought 510 acres for a planned rock quarry in Medina County, Texas, in the hope of beginning operations there by the end of the year.
The company applied in January for a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality air permit necessary to run a rock-crusher at the site off County Road 265, north of the community of Quihi, Texas, according to the San Antonio Express News.
The proposed quarry location isn’t far from a 1,760-acre site off County Road 353 that Vulcan Materials began developing more than a decade ago, and a 555-acre quarry operation begun last summer by Simpson Crushed Stone off County Road 351.
Tennessee Quarry Facing Stiff Opposition
Army Corp of Engineer officials, Tennessee lawmakers and concerned locals attended a discussion on a proposed Industrial Land Developers rock quarry near the Old Hickory Dam in Nashville. The meeting was held to talk about possible issues and safety concerns with the quarry’s proximity to the dam.
Brig. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser, commanding general of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of the Army Corp of Engineers, told lawmakers and protesters that there was no real threat to the dam.
“I am neither for, nor against the quarry,” said Kaiser. “I am for the safety of Old Hickory Dam and the safety of the public affected by Old Hickory.” Corps officials addressed several misconceptions that have been brought up in the public debate, such as improbable impacts downstream and stories of a past failure of the embankment.
North Carolina Quarry Permit Denied
The Lee County, N.C., Board of Adjustment voted to deny a land use permit application from Little River LCC to build a quarry near the Carolina Trace community, ending deliberations which began last August, according to the Sanford Herald.
The four-to-one vote came at the end of the board’s monthly meeting, which was held at the Old Lee County Courthouse before a packed audience, mostly of Carolina Trace residents. The audience broke out into applause when board chairwoman Elizabeth Kovasckitz ended the meeting, saying the matter was settled.
The quarry would have occupied about 87 acres of a 378-acre site. Trees would have been left in place on the remaining land to serve as a buffer between the quarry and the surrounding property.
Little River’s special permit application said the quarry fits in with Lee County’s long-range plans for the southern Highway 87 corridor. Under the Sanford and Lee County 2020 Land Use Plan, the area has been designated for commercial and industrial use.