By Hannah Lester
Citizens in Beulah have been advocating against a potential quarry, proposed by Creekwood Resources LLC. And now — a public hearing will be held by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Agency (ADEM).
The quarry would be located on West Point Parkway (US Hwy 29) approximately 0.6 miles east of Lee County Road 177, according to the ADEM website.
Creekwood also tried to install a quarry in Opelika but due to the large amount of backlash, the company withdrew its permit in February 2020.
The public hearing will be held at the Opelika Municipal Court (300 Martin Luther King Blvd.) at 6 p.m. on May 20.
The hearing will focus on the permits that Creekwood applied for in December, an Air Permit and a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit.
“The purpose of the public hearing will be for interested parties to make oral and written comments into the public hearing record,” the ADEM notice said. “Those wishing to make oral comments at the public hearing are also encouraged to submit those comments in writing. All comments must address the conditions of the draft permits; the Department’s adherence to the applicable environmental laws, rules and regulations in development of the draft permit; or issues that have an impact on the applicant’s ability to meet applicable environmental laws, rules and regulations to affect the final permit decision.”
The department has already said in the notice that Creekwood Resources, LLC’s intended purposes concerning equipment and operations will likely meet state and federal air pollution requirements.
Additionally, the department said it “has tentatively determined” that Creekwood Resources, LLC’s water quality work should meet the rules proposed by ADEM’s anti-degradation rules.
The permits and the departments’ determinations so far are available online here: www.adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/pubHearings.cnt, and at the ADEM Main Office in Montgomery.
The hearing will be conducted in a COVID-19 safe manner, the notice said, which includes allowing only one speaker into the hearing room at a time.
“In order to affect final decisions, comments must offer technically substantial information that is applicable to the applications or draft permits,” the notice said. “All comments must address the conditions of the draft permits; the Department’s adherence to the applicable environmental laws, rules and regulations in development of the draft permits; or issues that have an impact on the applicant’s ability to meet applicable environmental laws, rules and regulations to affect the final permit decision.”
Each speaker will be given seven minutes.
“Speakers are encouraged to provide lengthy statements in writing, and to present a summary of their statement during their testimony,” the notice said.
Although an audience will not be allowed into the room, the video of the hearing will be shared within 24 hours here: www.youtube.com/…/UCDwu2w3FpjGgT4ZOjhk…/featured.
To pre-register to speak, do so online here: https://forms.gle/6hzC4TDoexXh17Ah7 or call 334-394-4302. Pre-registration will conclude on May 17 at 5 p.m. Registration will be allowed the day-of onsite.
“You should arrive at the hearing no more than 15 minutes before your specified time slot,” the notice said. “At that time, please enter the hearing venue, and Department employees will alert you when it is your turn to speak.”
Special accommodations can be provided, the notice said, and speakers should call 334-271-7714.
Attending in person is not necessary to provide feedback, the department said.
Comments may be mailed or emailed to Ronald W. Gore, Chief ADEM – Air Division (334- 271-7861, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jeffery W. Kitchens, Chief ADEM – Water Division (334-271-7823, email@example.com) at the following addresses by May 27 and must include the permit number on the first page: 1400 Coliseum Blvd. PO Box 301463; Zip 36130-1463, Montgomery, Alabama.
Other COVID-19 measures include encouraging participants to wear masks.
“However, once called into the hearing room, adequate distancing will be established to allow the speaker to remove their mask while speaking, if desired,” the notice said. “All attendees will be subject to temperature screening prior to entering the hearing venue.”
The departments’ opening statements have already been provided here:
Hearing Officer Statement: www.adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/notices/apr21/pdfs/4opelika-officerstatement.pdf
Air Division Hearing Statement: www.adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/notices/apr21/pdfs/4opelika-airstatement.pdf
Water Division Hearing Statement: www.adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/notices/apr21/pdfs/4opelika-npdesstatement.pdf
The department’s decision and comments will be posted here: www.app.adem.alabama.gov/eFile/.
To receive notification of the legal notice, sign up by email on the department’s website.
More information on the potential quarry can be found below: