January 22, 2013 (Gurley, Alabama)-- Madison County Elementary School was the scene for a hearing called by Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). This hearing will help to determine the fate of a proposed rock quarry on Gurley Mountain. The auditorium where the meeting was held was so packed with residents opposing the quarry, it was a "standing room only" crowd.
ADEM permit would allow quarry and other operations
The permit ADEM is looking at granting would allow Vulcan Materials Company, based in Birmingham, Alabama, to open a quarry on the west side of quarry mountain. The quarry would be placed on property where a quarry operated many years ago. The company would also be permitted to build an asphalt plant and a cement plant across the creek from the proposed quarry site. The specific nature of the permit is that it is required for the quarry to discharge waste water into Hurricane Creek close to where it crosses U.S. Highway 72 and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks. The entrance to the quarry is close to the U.S. Highway 72 intersection with Rock Cut Road west of Gurley.
Several schools, neighborhoods near site
The historic town of Gurley is less than a mile from the quarry site. Hampton Cove and McMullen Cove, neighborhoods featuring homes worth from $100,000 to over $1,000,000, are less than three miles from the site. Schools within five miles of the site include Madison County Elementary School, Madison County High School, Central Elementary School, Hampton Cove Elementary School, Hampton Cove Middle School, and Hampton Cove Academy. Hurricane Creek is next to the site, and both Flint River and Paint Rock River are within five miles of the site. The site is also within the flight path for planes landing at Moontown Airport, and is adjacent to the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Gurley residents provide vocal opposition to quarry
The meeting was attended by over two hundred Gurley residents, who expressed vocal opposition for the quarry on the basis that it would negatively impact the quality of life. Among those who spoke at the hearing was one of the first residents of Hampton Cove, as well as a teachers and staff of Madison County Elementary School, located less than half a mile from the eastern end of the property for the proposed quarry site. Politicians speaking at the event included local council members, the mayor, and even state senators and house members. The only persons speaking in favor of the quarry were from Vulcan Materials and from the northern Alabama town of Scottsboro. We will provide further coverage of the comments made at the meeting later this week in a separate article.
Gurley's fight against quarry to continue
This hearing is only one step in the process that will occur. Gurley residents will continue to oppose the quarry at each step, just as Vulcan Materials will continue to attempt to obtain the necessary permits to be able to open at the site proposed. Stay tuned for coverage of this developing story at the Huntsville City Guide, Huntsville History and Landmarks, and Huntsville Staycation pages on the examiner.com website.
ARTICLES LATER THIS WEEK:
HUNTSVILLE HISTORY AND LANDMARKS: We will look at the section of the historic Bellefonte Road between Maysville and Gurley, which includes a portion of the road that travels over Gurley Mountain less than a mile from the proposed quarry.
HUNTSVILLE STAYCATION: We will look at the impact the proposed quarry will have on tourist attractions and hotels in the area.
COMMENT about the ADEM hearing or the proposed quarry using the comment form below.
SUBSCRIBE to the HUNTSVILLE CITY GUIDE EXAMINER using the link accompanying this article.