Friday, April 7, 2017

A Chapter Closes on Quarry Zoning Hearings

Last night's zoning hearing meeting on the proposed expansion of the Gibraltar Rock Quarry is probably more significant for what it represents than what happened.

What happened is it's the last one. The zoning hearing board will issue its decision in August.

What it represents is the closing of a chapter in the quarry's ongoing saga in its attempt to win township approval and begin operations.

For most of the hearings that I have managed to attend, the primary question with which the zoning hearing board must wrestle is one of pollution, not its usual balliwick.

Small wonder, the expert paid by the quarry says there is no risk ("within reasonable scientific certainty") that the pumping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water from the second quarry pit on the north side of Hoffmansville Road, adjacent to the Good Oil groundwater contamination site that the chemicals in question will be pumped into the quarry, and then into the tributary of Swamp Creek.

The experts paid by the township and the Paradise Watchdogs group put the potential risk much higher.

In the end, its the members of the zoning board who have to decide.

In the meantime, quarry attorney Stephen Harris said he believes the discharge permit for the original quarry, already approved by the zoning board, will be issued by the state in 30 to 60 days.

Then it's a question of how quickly the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's mining office in Pottsville issues a new mining permit that the digging can begin.

Here are the Tweets:

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