Protect Beulah Stop the Quarry made a Facebook post with the following content on Jan. 28.
Response from Protect Beulah to the Letter written by CreekWood Resources, LLC earlier this week
Protect Beulah Stop the Quarry
Representing the Members that reside in the Beulah Community
January 26, 2021
Judge Bill English, Lee County Commission Chairman
215 South 9th Street
Opelika, Al 36801
Re: Shady Grove Quarry
Dear Judge English,
On behalf of the majority of the residents of the Beulah Community, you are very aware of our dissatisfaction and objection to CreekWood Resources, LLC placing a quarry in our community. We would like to respond to all of the subtitles addressed by Jeffrey D. Major, Managing Member of CreekWood Resources.
LOCATION: As most of know, Alabama has a huge granite vein that runs deep in our state. There are plenty of other locations this quarry could be placed. We feel that the location was chosen for several reasons that does not apply to availability for granite. 1. The land is owned Weyerhaeuser Timber Co. that will allow CreekWood the rights to lease the property and the mineral rights for the property.2. CreekWood has managed to woo additional property owners with substantial proposals to lease their property long term for access to Highway 29.3. The location to Interstate 85 we are sure is an additional commodity for the quarry location.4. The property for the proposed quarry site happens to be outside of the City limits of Opelika, Al, therefore, currently does not have any zoning regulations, which makes it easier to obtain the land for a quarry. And also, far enough outside of the city limits of Opelika that the property possibly cannot be annexed into the city limits by the City of Opelika.5. CreekWood thinks the population of our area does not have the financial resources to stand up to Corporate America, so therefore any fight that may result from the community won’t cost near the finances as other locations might.A further note on location: CreekWood resources has not once taken into consideration that the location of this quarry will be a major disruption to the livelihood and well-being of this community. They have chosen to place this quarry next door to a brand-new subdivision with no regard to their opposition to this quarry. He has refused meeting with the community on more one occasion. Also, no regard to other home owners in the area that have chosen to live here, raise their families and/or retire in this community. The folks of this community were here first and should have a right to oppose this quarry merely for being here first. CreekWood has denied this community that right.
ADEM will regulate the operations based on water and air quality ONLY. They do not regulate noise, safety, traffic, blasting, vibrations from blasting, time of operation, road conditions, health of the surrounding community, etc. All of which will be a nuisance and health hazard to the residents of the Beulah Community. While ADEM does monitor certain aspects (water and air) reports from the quarry, it is our understanding they will only on occasions provide independent monitoring to compare to the monitoring reports given by the quarry. So, therefore, the only reports majority of the time will be those that are submitted by the quarry to ADEM. Also mentioned were other entities that will provide monitoring of the quarry as well but will fall mainly under the same scenario as mentioned above. CreekWood, as mentioned, has requested a public hearing through ADEM. Lee County Commission has also planned to do this as well. There is a fee for an ADEM hearing and it has not been made public to our knowledge that CreekWood has agreed to pay the fee in full. ADEM has accepted the request for a hearing per CreekWood Resources.
Halawakee Creek is less than ¼ of a mile from the proposed quarry site and less than six miles from Lake Harding (drawing a straight line from the quarry to the lake). The quarry sits on an elevation above the creek. We all know water flows downhill. We also know major flooding can over fill ponds and cause over flow to the surrounding areas, streams and creeks. Dust also settles on the ground and other surfaces and rain water can and possibly will flow directly to the creek. All engineered drawings look really good on paper, but do fail from time to time once implemented. CreekWood cannot 100% state that failure to structures, ponds, silt fences, etc. will not happen. Halawakee Creek is already deemed impaired by ADEM due to siltation (Causing impairment to vegetation and wildlife) and a quarry may or will increase the impaired state the creek is already under. Halawakee Creek is also a major water source for drinking water to over 50% Lee County. Even though the quarry may not change the status of the drinking water, dust will still settle within the creek and eventually be consumed by residents of Lee County (We all know extra filaments are allowed in the water report and water still be considered “Safe” to drink). On another note, CreekWood has not addressed the contamination of soil, water and air from the multitude of trucks and equipment that will be operating on site. These items will provide additional fumes, oil and gas leaks and sludge to the ground, air and water.
CreekWood states in their letter “No dust emissions will leave the permitted quarry site”. Really no dust? We live in the south where rain is limited during the warm/hot months of the year (April – November). Dust is a definite given for the south especial dirt roads, parking lots and quarries. We are sure many of you have driven down a dusty road and noticed the dust pouring up from behind. Imagine numerous trucks a day, blasting and crushing of rock per day at least 10 hours a day, 5-7 days per week. Water spray trucks will help some but will not prevent all dust from rising. Also, in the summer heat, spray form the water trucks will evaporate as soon as it hits the ground. This is a blatantly incorrect statement. There is no way to 100% control dust emissions created by the quarry. This statement was made to only appease those that might not know the difference. ADEM does have standards regarding dust emissions, but will not be on site every day to monitor 7 days a week for operation of this quarry. They provide the numbers that dust emission has to abide by, but who will be there every day to monitor the emissions ensuring regulations are met?
Highway 29 will be the primary roadway for this quarry to enter and exit every day. CreekWood states 60+ trucks a day (6-8 loads per hour) entering and exiting Highway 29. This is only counting the trucks entering the quarry. This does not include counting them when they exit. Under this calculation that is 120+ truck a day (12- 16 per hour). Also, CreekWood does not account for additional traffic for equipment, delivery trucks, or employees of the quarry. The location of the entrance and exit is not a safe area of Highway 29. There is a hill in close proximity to the proposed entrance hindering vision of oncoming traffic. Traffic flow is supposed to travel at 55 MPH on this area of Highway 29, but the speed limit by drivers is usually faster than that. For those that want to know the location of this entrance and exit for this quarry it is just north of mile marker 196. CreekWood also does not state the addition of an Asphalt and Ready-mix plant to the property. They have failed to disclose this information to the Beulah Community, but included it on their plans on the ADEM permits, but They stated in their recent letter that “if” these additional facilities should come to the quarry site. This alone will increase trucks from 60+ a day to 180+ trucks a day which in turn counting entrance and exit now becomes up to 360 trucks per day (24 – 48 trucks per hour).
CreekWood states that blasting will only occur 2 times per month. CreekWood also stated the number of trucks per day as being 6-8 per hour which, per our calculations, has grown to 24-48 trucks per hour (with the asphalt and ready-mix plants). Also, he stated in the beginning that hours of operation would be 7-5 Monday through Friday. Per his recent letter has grown to 5-6 days. On the ADEM application hours of operation could be 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. So, we personally do not trust his statement that blasting will only be 2 times a month. CreekWood also does not mention the damage sustained to septic systems. All of the homes in the 10-mile area does not have city sewage. All 100% of the homes depend on a working septic system for their homes. Some of which are very old. What happens when raw sewage begins to seep to the surface or worse into underground water sources? Who will monitor that and pay for the repairs? And as an added note, Beulah Utilities have no plans to add sewage systems to the area ever.What about homes that depend on well water? Who will monitor damage to wells and depletion of water sources for the wells? What happens if home owner’s well no longer produces water? Who will pay to drill them a new well? If water cannot be obtained by a new well, who will pay for piping from the Beulah Utilities’ pipes at the main road to their home? Some homes are 1,000 to 2,000 feet off of the main road. That is $1.50-$2.00 per foot cost = $1,500-$4,000 just for pipe installation. This does not include labor or meter for each home, nor the connection to the home. Who will cover that cost?What about underground streams that blasting will cause to dry up. Unknown Aquafers lay beneath rock forming underground streams and water for wells. The underground streams also create water sources for farm animals and ponds. What happens when the quarry drains these aquafers causing property streams and ponds to dry up? Who will supply the water for farm animals that once was supported by nature and pay the reoccurring bill associated with it? As for explosives: Trucks will have to deliver the explosives every time a blast is scheduled per CreekWood, meaning not only additional trucks but trucks that will be hauling explosives. Per his statement all explosives will be delivered for scheduled blasts and then will also haul off the unused explosives. This will be a total of 4 trucks per month (which by his constant changes of communication, could possibly be an addition to this number) hauling explosives on our primary inlet and outlet of the Beulah community. Let just say if blasting increases to 4 or 6 times a month, that is increasing the number to 8-12 trucks per month hauling explosives. That creates additional hazards to our community, increasing the hazard risks to the very road that is used for commuting to work, school, school buses, every day travel and emergencies by the Beulah Community. Blasts will affect your home. In his letter he states Modern homes, what about those that were erected 30, 40, 50, etc. years ago. What effect will this have on those structures? He does not mention mobile homes. Many of the mobile homes are 30-50 years old. What about those homes? What about barns located on farms, churches (We have 2 that are less than a mile from the proposed site and one that is 2-3 miles down the road), What about Beams Mill? Homes that sustain repeat blasting vibrations will eventually succumb to the vibrations created by repeat blasting. Who will monitor the seismograph tool reports? ADEM does not do this. The only report will be from the quarry itself. Reports can be altered to look good on paper, and this pertains to all monitoring reports. Not saying this is a tactic to be used by CreekWood, just putting it out there. CreekWood states that dynamite will not be used for blasting, but at the same time doesn’t disclose what will be used. We feel the community needs to be aware of what blasting material will be used at the quarry and what components will be hauled on our streets to be delivered and hauled away each time blasting occurs. Thank you CreekWood for offering the pre-Quarry structural evaluations of the surrounding homes. We hope home owners will take you up on that offer. CreekWood does not provide guidelines or area proximity of who they will provide this service to. Please provide a location guideline so we may possibly provide you with a list of home owners who may interested in receiving these services. Will You offer repair cost coverage as well because insurance for homes will not cover damage caused by a quarry, nor do they provide riders to add to insurance coverage for quarries (i.e.: Flood, earthquakes)? Homeowners will not want to or cannot pay the costs for repairs to windows, beams, sheetrock, foundations, walls, plumbing, etc. Please tell us who will cover these costs? Surely, CreekWood would offer coverage since they state blasting will not cause damage to homes.
This proposed quarry is coming to a community that doesn’t have to deal with unpleasant, annoying loud noise on an ongoing basis. There may be the occasional gun fire, Tannerite explosion, revving of a car/truck motor, loud playing of music and the roaring of interstate traffic, but these in no way can be compared to the constant movement of trucks, the crushing of stone and blasting of stone. CreekWood states that vegetation will be used as a barrier to minimize noise travel. Well, we hate to be the one to state that vegetation is currently in place and the noise created by the mentioned above is not buffered, so we highly doubt the everyday in and out of rolling of trucks, crushing of rock and blasting will be buffered enough to be satisfactory to the surrounding homes and community. From what we understand the crushing of stone is the worst part of the quarry when dealing with noise created by the quarry. CreekWood does not state how often rock will be crushed nor the amount of noise created. We are sure this will be a daily, ongoing annoying noise creator.
ADDITIONAL INDUSTRY AND JOBS
In the beginning it was stated that there would be no additional jobs created by the quarry. Later in the process it was stated that approximately 15 jobs would be created. In the letter sent by CreekWood, it is mentioned of a possibility of an Asphalt and Ready-mix concrete plant could be added in the future. We can pretty much bet these additions will happen and are currently part of the plan because they are incorporated in the permit applications submitted to ADEM by CreekWood. These additional plants will possibly create jobs but how many? We do know that the additional plants will create more air and water pollution, additional truck traffic and significantly more dust. Additional industrial plants are not a positive addition to a residential community. They are a nuisance, a bother, an eye sore to our Family raising, retirement community.
What about home and property values? CreekWood does not mention home/property evaluations for appraisal of pre-quarry value or covering the cost related to decrease in value. We highly recommend having your homes appraised pre-quarry. CreekWood needs to be held accountable for any decrease in property value. The only way to hold them accountable is having a record on file to substantiate your claim. CreekWood will not take on this responsibility willingly. Lastly, but probably the most important, it is to our understanding that this may be the first quarry ever developed from the ground up by CreekWood Resources, LLC. Mr. Majors may have all the experience working for or with other quarries throughout his 30 years, but has not managed or developed a quarry independently until the Shady Grove Quarry. CreekWood Resources, LLC was established in August of 2019, meaning this business has only been in existence for a little over a year.
Thank you for allowing us to voice the concerns and opposition for the multitude of the Beulah Community. Our community is the place we chose to raise our children, continue family heritage, and/or retire. We never in a million years thought battling a quarry to protect our community would be reality, but yet, here we are fighting full force and will be the thorn in the side of CreekWood Resources, LLC.
Sincerely and heart felt,
Protect Beulah Stop the Quarry
Voice of the Beulah Community