I would like to express my opposition to the non-coal mining application #099-9402 for a proposed limestone quarry in Powell County at the unincorporated community of Knowlton.
Before I get into the reasons I believe you should deny the permit I would like to address the permit conference conducted on June 12, 2014 at the Powell County Courthouse in Stanton, Kentucky.
That meeting was poorly run and it ill-served the requirement for public input in this process. The citizens of the county were not treated with dignity and respect. DMRE didn’t adequately explain what was being proposed, who they were and what their role in the process would be, and how the permit application process would play out. This was despite specific questions by the community on these issues.
In the future DMRE should consider having a specific agenda, presenting more coherent information, and being better prepared for the meeting (the initial space was far too small for the number of people who showed up, and DMRE promised audio and video of the meeting but their camera batteries were dead.)
Concerning my specific objection to this application:
1) Per 405 KAR 5:015.
(4) A person engaged in a mineral operation shall not engage in any activities, which will result in a condition or constitute a practice that, creates an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public.
(5) A person engaged in a mineral operation shall not engage in any activities which will result in a condition or constitute a practice that, causes or can reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm, to land, air, or water resources.
It is doubtful that Red River Materials, LLC can guarantee that either of these conditions can be met due to the extreme proximity of the site to existing residences. It is almost guaranteed that the haulage of the material from the site will create an imminent danger to the health and safety of the public due to the inadequate roadway between the site and the major highways in the area. Despite the fact that the DMRE representative was adamant at the permit conference that they would not consider the roadway during the approval of the non-coal mining permit it seems clear that the conditions created beyond the extent of this permit are contrary to the regulations cited above. Based on that alone I believe there is every justification for denying the permit.
KY 213 between the site and the Mountain Parkway interchange to the north is narrow and has deficient vertical and horizontal curves. There are also excessive grades just south of Stanton which, if the material from the quarry is to be transported north, will be hazardous to both the truck drivers and the residents that live and travel along the road. There is a 0.7 mile climb southbound on KY 213 just beyond the Stanton city limits which has an average 10% grade with sections that exceed 16%. This exceeds the standards for access and haulage roads within a permitted operation per 405 KAR 5:040. These conditions are verifiable through KYTC District 10, through the Powell County Road Department, and through the Bluegrass Area Development District’s Transportation Program.
From an environmental standpoint there is a strong likelihood that the quarry operations will negatively impact the historic Brandenburg Cave located lower in the drainage where the site will be located. In our area these small caves provide habitat to endangered bats and other species as well as being archaeologically and culturally important sites.
Before any operations are permitted there should be an extensive environmental and archaeological study conducted at the Brandenburg Cave at the expense of the applicant for permit #099-9402.
Thank you for your consideration in this manner.Chris Chaney