Friday, January 6, 2017

The People Get Their Say on Quarry Expansion

Photo by Evan Brandt
William 'Ross' Snook, newly appointed to New Hanover Township's Environmental Advisory Board, with some of the exhibits he was not allowed to present during Thursday's Zoning Hearing on the proposed expansion of the Gibraltar Rock Quarry.

If you're an aficionado of zoning hearing meetings, you know that is a realm of legalese, rules about when you can ask questions, and of whom, and when you can make a simple statement, and about what.

The year-plus long set of hearings regarding the proposed expansion of the Gibraltar Rock quarry to a site adjacent to the former Good's Oil Co. site, the source of groundwater contamination, has been no exception.

But Thursday night was that rare occasion when the people who have been suffering through these hearings for more than a year, got to offer (somewhat) unfettered comment on what they think of the whole idea of digging a hole and pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of groundwater a day right next to a contamination site.

It would not be an understatement to say no one seemed to think its a good idea.

Most of those who spoke, asked the zoning hearing board to consider the health of residents, and argued it would be better (and safer) to wait until the site is cleaned, and declared clean, before allowing any blasting and pumping.

But don't let me give the impression that you could just get up there and say anything that came to mind.

For when Celeste Bish from the Ban the Quarry group tried to read the names of those people who have died in homes with contaminated wells since the contamination was first discovered, many of them of cancer, it was ruled either not relevant to the hearing or inadmissible because she didn't have personal knowledge of their death.

Of course, I would think an obituary in the newspaper is pretty certain evidence of death, but then I'm not a lawyer so I could be mistaken.

Nevertheless, when the chance finally came, 11 people who wanted to speak and were lucky enough to be there at the right time, had their say, which you can read about in the Tweets below.

But despite what you might think, we're not done. There is at least one more hearing, tentatively set for Feb. 2 with a possible postponement to March 2, at which Gibraltar attorney Stephen Harris will offer rebuttal witnesses from his expert.

And then the township's attorney, and Ban the Quarry's attorney, and so on and so on and .......

Anyway, here are the Tweets.

1 comment:

  1. How long has this Gibraltar case been going on and how much has it cost the township ?