Town of Morrisville, Senator Wiley Nickel & Wake County Open Space Committee Request Denial of the Wake Stone Mining Permit
RALEIGH, NC: More than 570 people attended the virtual public hearing on June 23 for the Wake Stone Corporation mining permit application for RDU Quarry. Due to the large number of registered speakers who did not get to speak during the allotted four hours, NC DEQ’s Division of Energy, Mining and Land Resources (DEMLR) scheduled a continuation of the hearing for July 7 at 9 a.m. EDT.
Over 75 speakers voiced their concern about the new quarry planned for the Odd Fellows Tract, 105 acres adjacent to William B. Umstead State Park, one of the busiest and most popular state parks in North Carolina. The speakers included experts ranging from environmental scientists, wildlife experts, civil and environmental engineers, educators, advocacy groups, politicians and concerned Triangle residents. The only supporter of the quarry was Wake Stone President Sam Bratton. Speakers had two minutes to provide their comments.
Local elected officials share the public’s concern for the new quarry. The Town of Morrisville unanimously passed a resolution on June 23 requesting DEQ deny the mining permit application. This joins two statements previously released by the City of Raleigh in 2019 and Wake County in 2017.
Senator Wiley Nickel and Wake County Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee have also issued statements this week opposing the quarry requesting denial of the permit.
“We have demonstrated clear evidence for denial according to the criteria in the Mining Act of 1971,” said Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair of The Umstead Coalition. “Adverse and unmitigatable impacts would occur to potable groundwater supplies; wildlife; Crabtree Creek; water and air quality standards; direct hazard to public health, safety and property; our prized William B. Umstead State Park and the connected Old Reedy Road Corridor.”
“The southern end of Umstead represents the best chance to make sure the state park remains ecologically connected to other natural areas, particularly Jordan Lake, which has over 40,000 acres of public forest/gamelands,” said Dr. Ron Sutherland, Chief Scientist, Wildlands Network. “Jordan Lake's forests are also connected (via several large rivers) to the broader network of habitat across North Carolina, and it is essential to try to keep Umstead linked together with that network.”
Opponents to the quarry are advocating for preserving the Odd Fellows Tract —publicly owned land and deeded to the four local governments: City of Raleigh, City of Durham, Wake County and Durham County. RDU manages the land for the four local government owners.
In 2017, The Conservation Fund offered to buy the Odd Fellows Tractfrom RDU to expand Umstead State Park and build single-track bicycle/pedestrian trails. The RDU Airport Authority (RDUAA) did not accept the offer from the Conservation Fund, but executed an Option and Lease Agreement with Wake Stone for the proposed RDU Quarry in March 2019.
At the continuation hearing on July 7, only previously registered speakers will have the opportunity to speak. Details for the public hearing on July 7 can be found on the DEQ website. The public can submit comments to DEQ and local elected officials until July 17, 2020.
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, visit https://umsteadcoalition.org.
Download a PDF of the press release here.
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