Martin Marietta, Round 2
Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. presented their new and "improved" site plan for their rock quarry proposal yesterday evening. To update those who have not followed along: the mining company did not get enough of the votes they needed back in November 2010 to obtain a special use permit from the Onslow County Zoning Board of Adjustment. They needed 4 out of 6 votes on 4 different issues and they missed by 1 vote on 2 issues. After making very few changes to their initial proposal, the multi-million dollar company has come back with a plan that has yet to address the serious problems that are concerning community members within the Maple Hill/Haws Run area.
Paxton Badham, representing Martin Marietta, insists that this rock quarry is a "necessity" to the county. He highlights that the rock quarry will ignite job growth while keeping the local economy inexpensive by providing an "indispensable construction material." This is all fluff. When asked how many jobs the rock quarry would employ, Mr. Badham ball parked “around 30.” When asked out of those 30 jobs, how many would be sought within the county, he was not able to give a straight answer since there would be managerial positions hired internally within the company.
The proposal calls for the same acreage, the same amount of discharge, and the same location as before: 1,831 acres of limestone mine, 9-12 million gallons of water a day, and located right off N.C. 50 near Haws Run Road--within feet of people’s homes and yards. Every resident in this area should be very concerned with the likely possibilities of your ponds drying up, your gardens dying, and even your driveways caving in from sinkhole formation. Mr. Badham was quick to point out at yesterday's meeting that previous sinkholes may or may not have been from their other active quarries since sinkholes are a natural phenomenon. Yes, he is right. Sinkholes can either be human-induced or naturally-causing. However, natural sinkholes do not form within a human lifetime, they occur over periods of long geologic time. To learn more about this natural phenomenon you can read the USGS Literature Review on the Potential Environmental Impacts of Quarrying Stone.
Many of last night's questions from community members were deflected and referred to a Hydro-geology study that has been conducted, yet not released. Mr. Badham could not answer many of the questions addressed about the effects of decreasing the water table, but assured us that Dr. Richard Spruill from ECU would be able to. However he has not given us a date of when that study will be released nor when the public hearing of its results will take place.
If you are not concerned yet, there is also a hog farm located within a few hundred feet of the quarry site. The "revamped" proposal has only changed to increase the buffers around the perimeter of the quarry from 60 feet to 125 feet and has left more buffers around the hog lagoon. Mr. Badham himself stated that the buffer was only added "more for show" since they do not see a pressing issue that their proposed site map is neighboring a 35 million gallon hog lagoon. It is important to remember that when water is pumped from the ground in one site, the effects can be felt miles away. There is absolutely no way to guarantee a way to keep a sinkhole from forming from underneath the lagoon, causing raw pig sewage to leak and contaminate our drinking water supply. When considering the potential public health risks and the decreasing property values for residents, would you agree with Mr. Badham that this rock is really such a necessary commodity he believes it to be for the community?
There are other endless issues including the noise from the blasting of rock, dust pollution, and the drying up of wetlands causing to kill very important and rare species like the Venus fly trap and the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance has joined with Maple Hill-area residents to form the Maple Hill Community Protection Network. If you are interested in joining or receiving updates via email please contact email@example.com or you can call our office at (910) 382-1370. Even if all of the potential risks that affect our health and property out of the equation...would it matter if this is what you had to look at every day on your way to work? I think it would.