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Court Allows Rockhill Quarry to Continue Operation

According to The Reporter, a federal court decision allowing quarrying to continue at Rockhill Quarry, East Rockhill, Pa., without getting special exception approval from the township is a “little disappointing” but not the end of the battle, an attorney for the township said at the March 26 East Rockhill Township board of supervisors meeting.

Richard E. Pierson Materials Corp. is leasing the quarry from owner Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania. 

The township said asphalt plants are allowed in the industrial zoning district but not at the quarry site, which is zoned for extraction. The quarry says the asphalt plant is an accessory use to the quarrying. The judge in the federal case said that question belongs in state court, not federal court, and sent that part of the case back to Bucks County Court.

Along with the remaining question about the asphalt plant, the township is appealing permits by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in connection with quarrying at the site.

The question of whether the township would appeal the federal court ruling was not answered at the meeting but on April 1, East Rockhill announced it would not seek an appeal. However, it said the township’s legal counsel would file a request to the federal judge to clairfy certain aaspects of the decision.

Washington Quarries Subject of Community Feedback Effort

Clark County, Wash., wants to know what its residents think about surface mining and its effects on nearby residents, according to The Columbian. The county launched an online survey that asks a dozen questions about noise, blasting, dust, vibration, truck traffic and the potential for landslides and water contamination.

For years, the county has been questioned by residents angry over the operations of several mines, including Yacolt Mountain Quarry and Livingston Mountain Quarry, Country officials said.

Livingston Mountain presents a different set of challenges because the county has a 20-year lease for the site from the Washington State Department of Wildlife that expires in 2027. The county subleases the site to Tower Rock Products, a subsidiary of Tapani Inc., which contracts with J.L. Storedahl & Sons Inc. to operate the quarry.

According to a Clark County news release, the county established a Surface Mining Advisory Committee to provide a facilitated forum for quarry operators and nearby residents to:

  • Review and discuss outcomes and objectives of local, state or federal permitting and enforcement actions related to the mine operations.
  • Propose and develop mutually agreeable solutions to effectively resolve matters related to traffic, noise, trip counts, and other operational and environmental concerns.
  • Build and sustain mutual trust and beneficial relationships through robust, timely communications between mine operators, neighbors and local governments.

Vulcan Quarry in Texas Subject of Hearing

The Comal County, Texas, courthouse had a full house for a preliminary hearing concerning a proposed Vulcan quarry permit, according to The Herald-Zeitung.

People who were not named an affected party were hoping for their last chance to be named such for the upcoming contested case hearing. When all was said and done, about 50 households, or about 100 people, were added to the list.

Vulcan was issued a draft permit toward the end of 2018 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to construct a limestone quarry, complete with a rock crusher, near an intersection of Highway 46 and Farm-to-Market Road 3009 in Bulverde, Texas.

The finality of the issued permit and construction of the quarry hinges on the results of the full contested case hearing. 

Pennsylvania Quarry Must Finish Reclamation Work

A quarry in Solebury, Pa., failed to finish reclamation work by a March 19 deadline, according to the Buck Country Courier Times, thus the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has suspended any active mining operations there until the quarry can complete the work.

The 165-acre quarry, owned by the New Hope Crushed Stone & Lime Co., has for years drawn the attention of the township, local residents and the adjacent Solebury School, which blames quarrying operations for the formation of sinkholes on its property. Several lawsuits were filed and settled, and the DEP’s Environmental Quality Board ultimately declared the site a nuisance in 2014, leading the DEP to require a reclamation plan in 2015.

Operations at the quarry were briefly halted in August 2017 after the DEP said the quarry fell behind on the reclamation plan, which involves filling the quarry’s pit, grading it to a safe slope and seeding it, and restoring the nearby Primrose Creek. The two-week cessation was lifted after the quarry demonstrated it was working to catch up.

But operations were halted again after the quarry missed the March 19 deadline to complete the work.