During the recent ADEM meeting held at Madison County Elementary School, residents outlined their arguments against Vulcan Materials opening a quarry on Gurley Mountain. Their arguments ranged from loss of property values to the environmental impacts of the decision to open a quarry west of the town of Gurley. Today we look at what the residents said about the environmental impact of the quarry.
Environmental impacts of the quarry
Tom Devinish, a Hampton Cove resident, stated that he sold gas analyzers to ADEM. He stated that on several occasions in 2002 and 2004, Vulcan Materials declined to purchase particle analyzers for their quarry in Huntsville, which would have analyzed particles in the air beyond the quarry boundaries. He further stated that Hurricane Creek, which is where discharges from the quarry will be placed, currently has a pH of 7. However, the discharges that the quarry wants to place into the creek will have a possible pH of 8-9.
Lisabeth Meador, principal of Madison County Elementary School, stated that out of a population of 456 students, 71 students have breathing issues. The quality of life for these students could be compromised if the quarry is built. Bonnie Harrison, art teacher at Madison County Elementary School, stated that it was the responsibility of ADEM to protect the students from a compromised environment. She stated, "I want to know what crime these students have committed to be exposed to this?"
David Tillson is an explorer, who has explored caves in the area. He mentioned that he would like to see an analysis on the effects of blasting on the surrounding mountains and caves, as the limestone is interconnected between the different mountains in the area, as is the caves and groundwater.
Mary Louise Stowe, a former winner of the title of Miss Gurley, mentioned that she had read on the ADEM website that quarries meeting certain requirements could have their monitoring lessened, or even not have to be monitored at all. She noted the average time it takes a permit to be accepted, and then asked, "We believe that the permit is on fast track for some reason? What's the rush?"
Our next article will look at property value and quality of life arguments posed by residents. Future articles will look at what political figures said about the quarry as well as a point-by-point analysis of what Vulcan Materials officials said at the meeting.
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