UPCOMING EVENTS


Forested recreation in the heart of the Triangle 

RDU Quarry & RDU Fence Updates

Trying to keep up with everything and just want the current status? You've come to the right place. 


NEW! The continuation of the Public Hearing for RDU Quarry will be held virtually on July 7, 2020 at 9 a.m. EDT.  Learn moreYou can submit written comments to DEQ until July 17, 2020. Submit your comments now.
  • 06/09/2020 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment

    The development of a quarry on public land by RDU Airport Authority is more than a local issue, there are state and federal policies and regulations that constrain how this public-purpose land may be developed.

    The East Coast Greenway bisects the public land that is managed by the airport, and is a 3,000-mile spine route, from Key West north to the Canadian border in Maine.

    RDU Airport Authority did not consult with the local governments who own the land, nor the neighboring municipalities of Cary and Morrisville, the State Park System, NC-DOT (owner of this segment of the East Coast Greenway), or FAA prior to signing the lease for the quarry.

    In their effort to “secure this public-purpose land”, RDU Airport Authority also designed and applied for permits to build a 2 million dollar (18 mile long, 8 ft tall barbed wire) fence that would cut-off access to Umstead State Park for users of this trail. RDU Airport Authority stated the purpose of the fence was to “Protect Wake Stone” from vandalism and “environmental damage” from off-road cyclists. They falsely represented the true purpose of the fence, which was to accelerate the development of the quarry on the Odd Fellows Tract.

    The East Coast Greenway runs from Maine to Florida, but it relies on local governments to ensure that adjacent land uses are compatible with the trail.

    RDU Airport Authority is a municipal corporation that has zoning and eminent domain power equivalent to cities. Yet, they have established no zoning board of adjustment, special use or public hearing policies.

    Where is RDU Airport Authority’s policy on multi-jurisdictional planning to ensure compatibility of the quarry with the municipalities that border their jurisdiction? Wake County has both a Comprehensive Plan and an Umstead Planning District that the quarry is incompatible with. Isn’t joint planning a requirement that must be followed by all municipal corporations (towns, cities, counties, and municipal corporations) including the RDU Airport Authority? The Towns of Cary and Morrisville have plans for high density development in the headwaters of Crabtree Creek that make this expansion of the quarry especially problematic.

    Five thousand people per day have been reported using the Umstead State Park Trail System during the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people will be moving into this area to live in the high-density multi-family apartments that are in the current development pipeline.

    We need effective joint cross-jurisdictional urban planning to protect the East Coast Greenway and provide safe entryways into Umstead State Park. RDU Airport Authority must preserve access to recreational uses of public land that was taken for a public purpose. Doing so will promote the health and welfare of our citizens who rely on safe access to Umstead State Park and the recreational corridor that surrounds it.

    Density of Apartments in 2018. High Density Development is increasing near entrances to Umstead https://www.socialexplorer.com/c03106fdcc/view

    Continue reading on Medium.com

  • 06/06/2020 5:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This blog post was submitted by Hwa Huang. Though he is a long-time member of the local Sierra Club Chapter and is actively working with the Umstead Coalition, the comments below are solely his, and not those of the Sierra Club or the Umstead Coalition.

    Now is your chance to help save Umstead Park from a private quarry on public lands.

    By now you must have heard about Wake Stone’s proposed quarry next to the Umstead State Park.

    Despite the many overwhelming problems facing the city and nation today – the pandemic and the righteous protests against police violence among them – Wake Stone continues to keep pushing forward with their desire to have their quarry next to the state park. Frustrating as it is to have to spend time on this issue with so many others raging, Wake Stone remains relentless.  Once again, this highlights Wake Stone’s lack of care for public well-being as they attempt to avoid public scrutiny.

    We want them to know that we are still watching, but we still need your help, now more than ever! There are so many reasons why the proposed quarry will be awful for the state park because of the following impacts (but not limited to them):

    • Polluted water, wetlands, and Neuse River Buffer
    • Wake Stone is trying to avoid getting new industrial stormwater and air quality permits, incorrectly claiming they will not have new sources from their new proposed quarry
    • Blasting noise and vibration in Umstead Park and nearby homes
    • Impaired air quality, dust and non-road truck emissions
    • Reduced safety at Umstead Park entrance to park due to conflicts with mining and logging trucks
    • Inadequate reclamation plan concerning post-mining uses, especially in areas closest to the park

    Here is how you can help us:

    1. Take a minute to take this survey, so that we can establish important data for the DEQ to understand just who they will be affecting if this quarry is to take place: https://forms.gle/tsk3HvZPxbPT2YpC6
    2. Take 10 seconds to register to speak at the public hearing on June 23, 2020, 6 PM. You should expect to have 2 minutes to talk about why the DEQ must reject Wake Stone’s permit application: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=3IF2etC5mkSFw-zCbNftGeTQwlSeD1RIhOMcQI6ad6VUQjVROFJNNE9BMVlJM0I0RjdEVUtWUzRSQi4u&fbclid=IwAR0bKViHIqh4R8fTYTdCEdX53OqMDphrzq_-zzmyylECSKdWH7mLkIgVoTI  Please register before noon on June 23 – the sooner, the better.

    Do not worry about coming up with a script. Email info@umsteadcoalition.org to let the Umstead Coalition know you’ve signed up to speak, and they will reach out to you before the hearing date to work with you on what you will be saying on the big day.

    This is likely the LAST chance for public comments to stop the quarry. The public will have little opportunity to comment if this permit is granted. State law gives mines and quarries “life of site” permits, meaning that in most cases, they are automatically renewed – without further public comment.1

    [The Umstead Coalition’s lawsuit against the RDUAA “lease” with Wake Stone is still in the courts. Which means it’s in the hands of the lawyers and is NOT subject to any public comment.]

    Continue reading on Livable Raleigh

  • 06/06/2020 5:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment

    RDU Airport Authority justified not selling the Odd Fellows Tract to the Conservation Fund by claiming it would create an ‘Incompatible Use’ and violate ‘ Federal Grant Assurances’. Rather than allow the land to be purchased and added to Umstead State Park, they decided to destroy the land.

    https://www.rdu.com/lease-vs-sale-what-property-means-for-rdu/

    “We Must Comply with Federal Regulations

    RDU and our owning bodies — the counties of Wake and Durham, and the cities of Raleigh and Durham — are required to prevent the creation of incompatible land uses to remain in compliance with federal grant assurances. This means that if RDU was to sell land that became a park, school, or residential dwelling, the Authority would violate those federal requirements.

    A Sale is Forever

    A sale is forever — once land is sold, it is near impossible to recapture. The Authority cannot predict all the future needs of RDU or how it will need property to accommodate these future needs. The only way we can maintain flexibility to meet future needs is by keeping ownership and control of the surrounding land so that your airport experience can remain exceptional for years to come.”

    The lease of the Odd Fellows Tract to Wake Stone for an 105 acre, 400 foot deep open pit quarry mine DOES NOT provide the airport with control of the land in case it is needed for future airport needs.

    Leasing the land to Wake Stone for an INCOMPATIBLE USE of an open pit mine does NOT comply with federal grant assurances.

    A 35 year lease to Wake Stone for a quarry will make the land unusable for any public purpose, including expanding an airport runway - FOREVER.

    RDU Airport Authority entered into a long term lease agreement which is effectively a SALE.

    RDU Airport Authority cannot sell any of the land on which the Airport is located, if held in the names of the cities and counties, without the unanimous consent of the Cities of Raleigh and Durham, Wake County and Durham County, which own the land along with the Authority. (1) It can, however, purchase land in its own name and can exercise the power of eminent domain to condemn privately held land and make it property of the Authority.

    G.S. 160A-272 establishes the procedures most local governments must use when leasing government-owned property. While leases of government-owned property typically involve real property, the statute also applies to personal property. The procedural requirements vary depending on the length of the lease, and can be divided into three categories:

    1. Leases for a term of one year or less: The governing board may approve the lease without any public notice, and may delegate approval authority to the manager.
    2. Leases for a term between one and 10 years: The lease must be approved by resolution adopted by the governing board at a regular meeting after public notice. The notice must be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction and must describe the property to be leased, state the annual lease payments, and announce the board’s intent to authorize the lease at its next regular meeting (notice by electronic means is not authorized).
    3. Leases for a term longer than 10 years: The lease must be treated as a sale, and the local government must follow one of the methods authorized for the sale of government property under Article 12 of G.S. Chapter 160A.

    This land was purchased by RDU Airport Authority for a public purpose using federal grant funds back the 1970s. RDU Airport Authority testified before the US Senate on Sept. 9, 1975 asking for additional federal funds with the following justification (2)

    Continue reading on Medium.com

  • 06/01/2020 3:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By  State Law, the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) can deny a mining permit for any of the five following reasons:

    1. Adverse effect on the purposes of a publicly owned park, forest or recreation area
    2. Adverse effects on potable groundwater supplies, wildlife or fresh water
    3. Violating standards of air quality, surface water quality, or groundwater quality
    4. Hazard to public health and safety
    5. Hazard to a neighboring dwelling house, school, church, commercial or industrial building, public road or other public property
    Local public officials have the power to stop the quarry and the fence. We have provided some sample emails/letters here.

    You can email or mail your letters to the elected officials asking for the 50-year Sunset Clause to be reinstated and to deny the new mining permit for the Odd Fellows Tract.

    NC Office of the Governor

    20301 Mail Service Center

    Raleigh, NC 27699-0301

    When writing comments to DEQ, it's essential for your comments to directly relate to one or more of these five reasons for denial.

  • 05/22/2020 9:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources (DEMLR) is seeking community feedback on Wake Stone Corporation’s application for modification to Permit 92-10.  Based on current guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and limits on size of public gatherings under Phase 2, the public hearing on this application will be held digitally on June 23, 2020.

    The public is invited to participate online or listen by phone. Speakers will be asked to register in advance.

    https://deq.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2020/05/22/public-hearing-wake-stone-quarry-application-modification-update

    WHEN: Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 6:00 PM

    Participants can join the meeting starting at 5:45 PM

    ONLINE: Cisco WebEx Link:

    https://ncdenrits.webex.com/ncdenrits/onstage/g.php?MTID=ea3a0d70507b450041459a2a5d8276118

    Meeting Number (Access Code): 617 499 551

    Meeting Password: DEQ123

    PHONE:

    Cisco WebEx by Phone: +1 415 655 0003 US TOLL 

    Meeting number (access code): 617 449 551

    *If you wish to speak at the digital public hearing, you must register, provide the required information, and follow instructions on ways to join the public hearing. Registration must be completed by 12:00 PM on June 23, 2020. To register, please click the following link:

    https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=3IF2etC5mkSFw-zCbNftGeTQwlSeD1RIhOMcQI6ad6VUQjVROFJNNE9BMVlJM0I0RjdEVUtWUzRSQi4u

    *If you have technical difficulties, an automated voicemail will be set up from June 23 to July 3 to receive your verbal comments: 919-707-9209 (Please state your name before commenting.)

    To submit a public comment or obtain additional information concerning the hearing, email ncminingprogram@ncdenr.gov or write:

    Judy Wehner

    Assistant State Mining Specialist

    Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources

    1612 Mail Service Center

    Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1612

    Telephone: (919) 707-9220

    The proceedings will remain open for a period of ten (10) days following the hearing for additional written arguments or statements ending on Friday, July 03, 2020.

    DEQ will consider all public comments and other available information about the permit application before deciding whether to issue the final permit, deny the permit or issue it with amended conditions.

    The application, public notice, and proposed mine maps can be found at https: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/energy-mineral-land-resources/energy-mineral-land-permits/mining-program.

    https://deq.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2020/05/22/public-hearing-wake-stone-quarry-application-modification-update

    ######

  • 05/14/2020 1:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    RALEIGH – Based on significant public interest, the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources (DEMLR) plans to hold a public hearing on the Wake Stone Corporation, Triangle Quarry application, to modify permit number 92-10.   Wake Stone Corporation has applied to expand its quarrying operations by developing 106 acres of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority's Odd Fellows tract.    

    Given the guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19, DEMLR is evaluating the most appropriate options to safely allow public participation and will announce details of the hearing as soon as they are available.

    In accordance with The Mining Act of 1971 § 74-51(c), the public hearing must be held by July 7.

    Written comments may be submitted to N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, Attn: Judy Wehner 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1612 or by email to ncminingprogram@ncdenr.gov.

    All comments received will be considered in the final permit decision on this application. 

    Wake Stone Corporation's application and related documents can be found here.

    ###

  • 04/26/2020 9:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen to this song from D. Mark Durrett.

    “Paradise” Revisited By Misfits, with apologies to John Prine 

    When I was a child my family would travel Down to western Wake County where my parents had played And there’s some rocky old trails that are often remembered So many times that my memories did fade.

    And daddy won't you take me back to western Wake County Near RDU runways where paradise lay Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking The airport authority done gave it away

    Well, sometimes we'd travel to the outskirts of Cary To the gnome-crafted trails off Old Reedy Creek Road Where the air smelled like sludge but it just didn’t matter ‘cause bikin’ and hikin’ was the travelin’ mode And daddy won't you take me back to western Wake County Near RDU runways where paradise lay

    Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking The airport authority done gave it away Then Wake Stone company came with the world's largest shovel And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land Well, they dug for their rocks ‘till the land was forsaken Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

    And daddy won't you take me back to western Wake County Near RDU runways where paradise lay Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking

    The airport authority done gave it away The airport got pissy, like a grumpy old neighbor And they built a big wall to keep the tree huggers out

    Well, they claimed it was better with no hikers and bikers “It is best for their safety and nature,” they’d shout And daddy won't you take me back to western Wake County Near RDU runways where paradise lay

    Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking The airport authority done gave it away When I die let my ashes float down Crabtree Creek Let my soul roll on up to the Oddfellow’s Tract I'll be halfway to Heaven with 286 waitin'

    Just hopin’ this song made somebody react And daddy won't you take me back to western Wake County Near RDU runways where paradise lay Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking The airport authority done gave it away

  • 04/16/2020 12:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On April 8, 2020, Wake Stone submitted a Mining Permit Modification Application for a new quarry pit on the Odd Fellows Tract adjacent to Umstead State Park.

    NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will now evaluate that application. If there is sufficient public interest, they are required to hold a Public Hearing to get feedback on concerns regarding the permit application. So here's your chance to be heard and make a difference!

    Please write a physical letter to DEQ and the Governor. You must send physical letters via snail mail and not email.  Please mail them by April 25, 2020. 

    Brian Wrenn, Acting Director

    N.C. DEQ Energy, Mineral and Land Resources

    1612 Mail Service Center

    Raleigh, NC 27699-1612


    Governor Roy Cooper

    North Carolina Office of the Governor

    20301 Mail Service Center

    Raleigh, NC 27699-0301

    Reference

    Request for in-person Public Hearing: Wake Stone Corporation Application for Permit 92-10 Modification, Triangle Quarry, 222 Star Lane, Cary, North Carolina 27513 

    (i.e., object to creating a new quarry pit on the public Odd Fellows Tract adjacent to Umstead State Park, Crabtree Creek, a major greenway and a private home)

    Talking Points

    Include the following requests. Keep your letters brief and to-the-point:

    1. Request to deny Wake Stone Corporation’s Application for Permit 92-10 Modification and not allow a new rock quarry pit on the west side of Crabtree Creek

    2. Request to hold an in-person public hearing

    3. Request that a public hearing of any kind not be held until after Governor Cooper's Statewide Stay-at-Home Order is lifted

    Be sure to include your full name and mailing address in the letter submitted.

    View the Wake Stone Mining Application here>>

  • 02/28/2020 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Judge Issues Injunction Against Wake Stone Corporation, Confirms Merit in Umstead Coalition and TORC's Contentions that the RDU Airport Authority Has Failed to Follow Federal Regulations and State Law

    Judge Shirley signed an Injunction on February 28, 2020 that prohibits Wake Stone Corporation from extracting rock from the Odd Fellows Tract until June 2022. The injunction also confirms that a Mining Permit would be required before any site clearing, bridge construction, or other mining activities (except exploratory for permit application) can occur on the site. There is no mining permit application yet submitted for this site.

    Wake Stone Quarry, Cary, NC

    Plaintiffs filed an appeal on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 asking to overturn a recent Wake County Superior Court judge’s ruling stating that the Raleigh Durham Airport Authority (RDUAA) did not exceed its authority under state law when it granted Wake Stone Corporation rights to mine a new quarry on airport land. We strongly disagree and believe RDUAA exceeded its authority by not first obtaining the approval of the four local government deeded owners.

    “The fight is just beginning,” said Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair of The Umstead Coalition. “The proposed quarry represents a real threat to the priceless asset we have in Umstead State Park. We will continue the fight on appeal. We remain willing to be partners in much better alternatives that would preserve the Odd Fellows Tract, protect Umstead State Park, and provide the RDU Airport with more long-term, sustainable income streams.

    Destroying the Odd Fellows tract jeopardizes that opportunity. Valid offers and letters of interest from the Conservation Fund and NC State Parks, for purchase and preservation have been dismissed. RDUAA incorrectly claims FAA regulations prevent such sales*.

    “Litigation is only one means by which we can fix this mistake,” said David Anderson, Board member of the Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC). “I’m thrilled by the broad-based support for protecting Umstead State Park, and want to encourage people to stick with this effort as we push for a better alternative that doesn’t place a new quarry pit on the park border.”

    Opponents to the quarry argue that that RDUAA violated General Statute §63-56(f), which states that the RDUAA must obtain approval of its governing bodies before disposing of property “by sale, or otherwise” that will not be used for aeronautical purposes (see Editor’s Note).

    About the Umstead Coalition:

    The Umstead Coalition has been working since 1972 to support and protect William B. Umstead State Park through fundraising, sponsorship of volunteer activities, and oversight of environmental and legal protections. For more information.

    About Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC)

    Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC) is a volunteer organization dedicated to ensuring the future of mountain biking in the Triangle area of North Carolina through the promotion of responsible riding, establishment and maintenance of mountain biking trails, and preservation of North Carolina’s natural resources. TORC works with Wake County to maintain and enhance the single-track trails at Lake Crabtree County Park. For more information, visit http://torc-nc.org

    # # #

    EDITOR’S NOTE*: N.C. General Statute §63-56(f) states: “...No real property and no airport, other air navigation facility, or air protection privilege, owned jointly, shall be disposed of by the board, by sale, or otherwise, except by authority of the appointed governing bodies, but the board may lease space, area or improvements and grant concessions on airports for aeronautical purposes or purposes incidental thereto.”

    *https://umsteadcoalition.org/resources/Documents/Airport/FAA-Response-2017-09-11.pdf

    Download a PDF of the Press Release here.

  • 02/28/2020 12:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Hwa Huang, Group Chair, Sierra Club Capital Group. Letter to the Wake County Commissioners on February 28, 2020.

    Dear Wake County Commissioners,

    My name is Hwa Huang, and I am a constituent in Wake County. I am writing to you as the group chair of the local Sierra Club Capital Group, regarding the recent news that some of you were considering options for turning the “286” lands next to RDU Airport into a bike trail area. 

    I want to thank the commissioners for bringing these issues up to the table. However I am also concerned about the Airport Authority's plan to turn the Odd Fellows tract into a rock quarry, and its plan to potentially develop much of Lake Crabtree County Park.

    The renewed “RDU Forest” discussions by the Wake County Commissioners have brought up a few questions that I was hoping the Wake County Commissioners can work with the Sierra Club Capital Group to resolve together:

    1. It has been mentioned that the land above floodplain at Lake Crabtree County Park would be turned into an office park. How many of the single-track bike trails at Lake Crabtree are above the 100 year floodplain, and are therefore in jeopardy of being lost for the office park? What options does the County have to save these trails, or indeed the entire park

    2. According to a recent article from the Triangle Business Journal, Wake Stone has proposed offering $3.6 million to Wake County for building trails at 286, which is still not off the table. I am concerned that taking the monetary offer from Wake Stone would result in the Wake County Commissioners being financially bound to a quarry they do not want. Furthermore, it has been reported that the North Carolina Division of Parks is willing to work on taking in 286 as part of the Umstead park land (and/or work with Wake County to develop alternative trail solutions for 286), and according to the letter from FAA to one of the members of The Umstead Coalition, the airport can in fact sell land (Letter here). Would the Wake County Commissioners pursue independent funding options without involving the proposed, not yet approved, quarry?

    3. On Tuesday, February 18, Dr. Ron Sutherland, Chief Scientist of Wildlands Network, did a presentation at the Capital Group of the Sierra Club meeting on how vital it is that we protect what is left of the wildlife corridors connecting Umstead State Park to Lake Crabtree, and then over to the Jordan Lake Gamelands.  The Jordan Lake Gamelands are in turn connected to the rest of the potential east coast wildlife corridor that Wildlands Network calls “The Eastern Wildway”. Will Wake County Commissioners ensure that the proper environmental study is being conducted to minimize the damage that would be brought about by losing the Odd Fellows tract and Lake Crabtree Park and therefore the only connection that Umstead has to the broader landscape? 

    The Sierra Club Capital Group is deeply engaged in the issue, and we look forward to working with the Wake County Commissioners as well as with the state park together in moving forward to ensure the environmental integrity of Umstead State Park and its surrounding forested lands and wildlife corridors are protected.  We want to ensure that these lands can remain safe for people seeking recreation as well as the wildlife. 

    I look forward to hearing your response.

    Thank you very much.

    Sincerely,

    Hwa Huang

    Group Chair

    Sierra Club Capital Group

WHO WE ARE

We are a coalition of residents, organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs working towards preserving Lake Crabtree County Park, protecting Umstead State Park, and preserving the forested corridor that connects them.