Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quarry Expansion Analysis Maryland 2005

Excerpts from the 18 page report (this is a LaFarge quarry):
Six witnesses who either live or work in the area testified as to their experience of vibration effects they attribute to blasting at the existing quarry.
Two expert witnesses addressed blasting effects from the proposed northern extension: Dr. Robert L. Kondner testified on behalf of the protestants and Steve Carter testified on behalf of the applicant.

John Barron
Mr. Barron lives at 21266 Mount Aetna Road which is 0.8 miles from the existing quarry
He presented records made by his neighbor showing that 18 of the blasts which occurred at the existing quarry from June 18th to October 13, 2004 rattled the windows in his neighbor's house.

David Andrews Burrows
Mr. Burrows resides at 21917 Academy Lane which is one mile from the East Pit quarry.

He said that he experiences blast-caused vibrations at his home and is concerned about how the northern extension would exacerbate impacts. 

Woodrow Barron
Mr. Baron resides at 21110 Mount Aetna Road which is 0.8 miles from the East Pit quarry
He said his whole house shakes when blasts occur at the existing quarry. The proposed quarry would only be a half-mile from his home, making the blast effects much worse.

Alden Howell
Mr. Howell testified that he is the president of the student association at Highland View
Academy, which is located 0.75 miles from the existing quarry.

He stated that the Academy administration building presently shakes when blasts occur at the existing quarry.  The vibration and noise creates a sensation of dwindling liquid beneath students desks which is very disrupting to classes and frightening to Academy students. 

Glen Milam
Mr. Milam stated that he was the director of the Mount Aetna Camp and Retreat Center which is located 1.3 miles from the existing quarry.

Mr. Milam testified that the inner city youth who attend the camp find blasting from the existing quarry quite disturbing. 
Mr. Milam also testified that he believes quarry blasting has played a role in the need to replace the camp swimming pool three times over the past 40 years.

Clifford W. Shramm
Mr. Shramm lives at 10327 Highpoint Drive which is 0.9 miles from the existing quarry.

Mr.Shramm testified that for the 21 years he’s lived in his home there has been blasting at the quarry
weekend and weekout. 

He said his house literally shakes. 
He described the first time he was off work and the whole house shuttered. 
Mr. Shramm said he had a mason look at his home to estimate some work. The mason noticed numerous cracks in the west wall of Mr. Shramm’s home, which is the side facing the quarry. 
Cracks were found in other walls too. 
Mr. Shramm stated he had submitted an insurance claim. The insurance company adjuster found more cracks
upon inspection of the claim.

From the quarry representative:
Mr. Carter did not address the blasting impacts described by the six people who live or work in the area.
Nor did Mr. Carter address how locating a new quarry close to a far greater number of homes when (compared to the existing Beaver Creek quarries) would exacerbate the blast impact.
(See the report for more information, click on title for link) 

By the Commission:
Mr. Carter responded by stating that the blast-caused vibration at the homes was no greater than the vibration caused by someone walking across a floor.
Mr. Carter was not asked any questions regarding the specific points raised by Dr. Kondner with respect to the effect of blasting on increased sinkhole formation and the threat this posed to the numerous homes in close proximity to the northern extension site.

That sounds all too familiar to Vincent residents; questions were not asked about specific points made and valid issues raised.The effects on the nearby Vincent Elementary School and the young children deserve more careful thought and caution than has been given to them. If a parent had a choice to have their child attend school near heavy industry or not, which do you think they would choose?

We submit it would not be to have their children attend school 4500 feet from the site of heavy industry.

What kind of society does not exercise an abundance of caution when it comes to their youngest citizens safety and well being? Representative Cam Ward came out against the proposed Montevallo quarry in 2005 citing proximity to schools as one of his reason. He still sits on the Shelby County Local Delegation, where is he for Vincent's children? Jabo Waggoner? Henry Erwin? All came out against the Montevallo quarry.

The entire delegation has been silent on this issue despite repeated phone calls, letters and emails for them to acknowledge the school issue. But when it was Montevallo, that was different.

We sent Steve French packing because of his silence who grossly underestimated the power of people to organize when they are unhappy and ignored by their elected representatives. There will be more come November.

Additional blasting effects on subsidence and sinkhole formation:
Dr. Kondner stated that the numerous sinkholes depicted on the applicant’s geologic map plus the presence of the cave shows that the area is a "Swiss-cheese" of solution channels--subsurface chambers and channels formed by the dissolution process. 
He said some of these channels contained water. Dr. Konder described how blasting proposed by the applicant would send shock waves through rock and the channels. 
He said the shock waves would cause an effect like a water-hammer which would disturb and flush sediments from the surrounding material.

Not once has then been addressed and acknowledged by the "WRQ team."
In addition the Calera area has been described in exactly the same phrase by a local engineer as, "It is like Swiss-cheese down there in the area of the quarries."

6000+ collapses in the Calera, Montevallo, and Alabaster areas according the the USGS. Millions of dollars spent in repairs. Risk factor does not equal economic benefit; cities, communities and the state are spending almost as much as they are receiving, and sometimes more, in relation to the industry revenue.

These Maryland residents live in ranges of .75 miles-1.3 miles from the quarry and all are experiencing effects from the blasting.  This is not 15 years ago and aged research; it is from 2005 and from actual people affected by it, not the quarry "spin masters."

A residents opinion reveals secrecy, thwarting of public input and similar problems:
Additional stories (title click for full stories):

The report also discusses ground water, subsidence, sinkholes and view shed effects. 
They are quite telling.

We simply do not believe White Rock Quarries, Shelby County and the Vincent Town Council are being truthful about what the real effects of this huge operation will be on the citizens and the environment.

Perhaps that is why at tonight's City Council meeting, once again, the request for an independent study was refused. 

Mr. Jim Hurley of WRQ,  wrote as a guest columnist in the June 15, 2010 edition of the Shelby County Reporter that; " ...All of us on our team associated with White Rock Quarries have tried very hard to present our case for the project’s approval in a factual, respectful and reasonable manner... Please keep in mind that in presenting our case, we have never tried to mislead you, never tried to twist facts to boost our argument, or confuse the issue with out of context or misleading information — and have never engaged in personal attacks on individuals."

He is certainly entitled to his opinion and we are entitled to ours; we wholeheartedly disagree with every word he said and find those words to be the antithesis of what we have experienced from all who are associated with "the team of WRQ."

**From someone on the outside looking in, familiar with our situation and the process big business uses to select their "targets"; "People need to understand that this area was deliberately targeted, not just for the limestone, but because it is a low income area and the residents do not have the monetary means to fight back."


  1. There was not one bit of truth in what Hurley wrote.
    Sure, it looks good to an outsider who does not live in the area, which is who it was written for, but it is not reality for Vincent's citizens.
    The quarry reps have attacked citizens, twisted everything to suit their agenda and taken advantage of an uneducated community to accept what they say as truth.
    Their references are outdated, "experts" do not act professionally in public meetings, and they have continued to not faithfully address any differing views and results.
    Mr. Hurley calls the other guest writer a "non resident" despite the fact that she owns land and a home in the area and uses this residence.
    Passive aggressive if ever I saw it.
    Mr. Hurley made a good attempt to spin this, but those who live in Vincent know that it is just more of the same; propaganda from WRQ.

  2. There is no truth, only lies from the quarry.
    There is no honesty in the process; only corruption.
    It may take a while, but the real truth will send someone to jail before it is all said and done.

  3. Has Alabama just lost its mind???

    Who thought this was ever a good idea to begin with?


    I am glad I don't live in Shelby County, I have heard a lot of bad things about your government. We have our own troubles in Talladega with the local officials.

    Good luck with this.

  4. Is the Board of Education okay with this?
    I cannot imagine they think this is okay.

  5. I am done with Columbiana and the way this county is run. It's nothing but a good ol' boy network and reward your buddies.


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