Query of the Quarry
Tue, 08/24/2021 - 1:13pm admin
Public Concerns Heard, No Action Taken
Sandy Whitaker, guest writer
Between ninety and one hundred concerned citizens who live or own land near a proposed quarry, which will be located near the Eleven Point River, attended a question-and-answer meeting Monday, August 16 at West Side Park in Mountain View.
Kristian Taylor (KT) Fleeman, owner of KTF Quarry, along with persons from several government agencies answered questions and tried to reassure landowners that the watershed would likely be unaffected by the proposed mining activity since there are government regulations KTF plans to follow.
The event offered several microphones to be used by those who had questions and maps and contact names for resource information was posted as well. Questions and concerns voiced by the public included air pollution from dust, large and heavy trucks traveling around bends and hills on Highway 17 (a two-lane road), pollution or possible collapse of personal wells, and polluted riverways.
Most answers from the Missouri Department of Natural Resource representatives include the fact that all regulations will be followed and that increased traffic and access to the road will be addressed by MODOT.
One landowner stated floods affect her well, sometimes causing it to become murky. She asked if the blasting causes her to have to dig another well, will he pay for it? Fleeman stated that if it was proven that the damage was caused by his quarry, he would be responsible.
Another citizen pointed out that starting a business would make Fleeman a part of the community and asked if he would show it by hiring local people. He was also asked how many employees he has now, how many he intends to hire, and whether they are local. Fleeman’s response was he has no employees at this time, and that there may be two or three jobs. He said he intends to hire people who are capable of the job. He said he cannot insure they will come from the community.
When asked how many quarries he has at this time, Fleeman stated this is his first. When asked about his experiences he stated his father is an experienced construction worker but he himself will run the business.
Fleeman didn’t attempt to answer questions about blasting regarding how often, how loud, or any side effects because he said the actual blasting will be done by those he hires, and they will follow regulations.
He encouraged the assembly several times to check out quarries which have no issues and are close to peoples’ homes including one inside the city limits of a Missouri town.
The public seemed to resist this suggestion to check information on other quarries. Several stated this location is unique in its beauty, that the quarry will affect their drinking water and the Current River, and could cause depreciation of homes. It was pointed out that the mine is within one hundred feet of the Eleven Point River and questions were raised asking, “What if we have a flood and the processed waste water runs into the riverways?”
Fleeman responded that his regulations include collecting and containing processed water, and if heavier than average rains fall causing an overflow or an issue, that will be addressed and corrected at that time.
Approving the Permit and the Appeals Process
Larry Lehman, Director of the Land Reclamation Program at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, shared that the Industrial Mineral Mining Permit will be decided in less than two weeks from the date of the meeting on Monday. Lehman expanded in a follow up email with Howell County News on August 16, that, The Department has up to six weeks to make decision regarding the mining permit.” Organizing the public meeting when requested by landowners is part of the application process.
“Once a decision is made to either issue or deny the permit, any party can file an appeal,” Lehman continued via email. “This decision can be appealed to the Administrative Hearing Commission as provided by 621.250.3 RSMo: ‘If you were adversely affected by this decision, you may be entitled to pursue an appeal before the administrative hearing commission. To appeal, you must file a petition with the administrative hearing commission within thirty days after the date this decision was mailed or the date it was delivered, whichever date was earlier. If any such petition is sent by registered mail or certified mail, it will be deemed filed on the date it is mailed; if it is sent by any method other than registered mail or certified mail, it will be deemed filed on the date it is received by the administrative hearing commission.’”
The mailing address of the Administrative Hearing Commission is: Administrative Hearing Commission, PO Box 1557, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Additional information about the Administrative Hearing Commission can be found on their web site at http://ahc.mo.gov/.
At Monday’s meeting, Lehman clarified that KTF Quarries must still apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit, a water-related permit. As of August 16, the quarry owner had not applied yet for that permit which is “required for their operation,” wrote Lehman.
The meeting lasted for two hours, leaving many of the public dissatisfied. It seemed the only answer the public wanted to hear was that the quarry would be moved to another location.
The level of opposition this quarry has encountered is somewhat unusual, Lehman said.
“There are over 700 permitted sites in Missouri to mine industrial minerals (limestone, sand and gravel, clay). Whenever there is a proposed new site, a site expansion or a transfer of a permit from one operation to another, the operator is required to provided public notice. Over the past couple years, we have average about 15 public meetings where people have questions or concerns regarding mining activities.”
If the DNR approves the initial permit, landowners who are unsatisfied with the decision may file an appeal as outlined above. Missouri House of Representatives legislator Bennie Cook (R-142) also invites any concerned citizens to contact his office at 573-751-1490.