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Cemex Makes Progress in Florida

Cemex Construction Materials Florida ‘s effort to expand its lime-rock mining operations cleared another hurdle when the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval for the rezoning of 573 acres of land north of Cortez Boulevard in Brooksville, Fla., according to the Tampa Bay Times.

County commissioners will take up the rezoning again this month, along with several other approvals related to the connecting road system, a conservation easement and a so-called “good neighbor” plan to ensure nearby residents do not suffer water well or structural impacts from the mining activity.

Cemex has fought for the mining expansion for eight years against some of the strongest public opposition to any project in recent history. Residents packed meetings, hired experts and lawyers, and made emotional pleas to county officials.

They succeeded in getting the application pulled and delayed until the county commission approved it last year. A legal challenge supported by the Neighbors Against Mining, filed by an adjacent property owner, again delayed the process until May when an administrative law judge ruled in favor of Cemex.

Martin Marietta Seeks to Expand Parkdale

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. applied to purchase approximately 400-million net tons of aggregate reserves on Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, just north of its existing quarry operating on private land in Parkdale, Colo. BLM determined that there is a need to analyze and respond to Martin Marietta’s application in a timely manner and identify any contract conditions necessary for resource protection and public safety.

The proposal to expand the private quarry onto BLM mineral material reserves would sustain uninterrupted aggregate supplies in this area, extending the mine life to more than 100 years. The mineral materials produced from BLM would provide aggregate for similar uses, in addition to becoming a significant source of rail ballast.

The Parkdale Quarry is the only quarry in Colorado with direct rail access. Rail access is important for the construction and long-term maintenance of railroad infrastructure because of the costs and challenges posed by moving critical ballast material by truck. Currently, most railroad ballast used in Colorado originates from Wyoming or from east-central Oklahoma. An expansion of the existing Parkdale Quarry onto the BLM lands would result in a local source of rail-accessible ballast for Colorado, as well as for adjacent states.

Rockhill Quarry Still Fighting

East Rockhill, Pa., is continuing its opposition to the Rockhill Quarry after the township board of supervisors voted unanimously at a special meeting to authorize new legal action to try and win zoning control over the site, according to the Bucks County Courier Times.

The 140-acre quarry, located north of the Pennridge Airport, became a major issue in East Rockhill when it sprang to life in late 2017 after several decades of near-complete dormancy. In the ensuing 18 months, the township, local residents, quarry owner Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, and quarry operator Richard E. Pierson Materials have engaged in bitter zoning and court battles over its operation.

The issue appeared to largely be decided in the quarry’s favor in March, when a federal judge ruled that Pennsylvania law gives the quarry wide latitude to operate the site, beyond the control of the township. But the federal court kicked one important issue to the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas: whether the township could prevent an asphalt plant from being constructed at the site.

Pierson plans to mine the quarry’s stone for asphalt, before shipping the materials to the Northeast Extension as part of a $224 million road-widening contract awarded by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in 2017. The township has previously suggested during Zoning Hearing Board meetings that asphalt plants are only allowed in districts zoned for manufacturing, which the quarry is not.

As the legal issues play out, work at the quarry remains halted as asbestos is investigated at the site.