February 2017 Newsletter
Gibraltar Rock permit renewals still pending - - -
Gibraltar Rock’s mining permit renewal application and their NPDES (Natl. Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit renewal continue to be under consideration by the Penna. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Many residents, including approximately 100 residents of the Frederick Living retirement community, sent objections to the DEP mining office in Pottsville, PA.
The DEP Mining Office held a public hearing on the NPDES permit in March 2016. Our attorney submitted a large file containing our objections to the issuance of both permit renewals due to the community’s concern about the Hoff VC HSCA site (Good Oil Company) and the potential for spreading the underground plumes of contamination.
In a deposition given in June 2016, Ethan Good indicated the location of a concrete truck-washing pit that had never been remediated. The DEP took immediate action starting in July 2016 to remove 8,000 gals. of chemical waste from the pit. They are currently testing the soil surrounding the pit and removing the soil for disposal or treatment. The soil remediation is ongoing.
Gibraltar Rock’s latest application to quarry on 82 acres - - -
In 2015, Gibraltar Rock, Inc. filed an application for permission to conduct quarrying on an additional 82 acres. Hearings before the Zoning Hearing Board are still ongoing. The application is referred to as GR-4. In 2016, we secured the services of Marshall Geoscience in Collegeville to review the DEP’s report on the extensive list of chemicals that have migrated off the Good Oil property onto several parcels owned by Gibraltar Rock.
Our expert, Gil Marshall, testified to the zoning hearing board that blasting in that area would risk spreading the underground contamination south and southeast of the Hoff VC site. The quarry is located east and southeast of the hazardous site. Since 2011, the DEP has identified nearly 40 homes and businesses that have been affected by the contamination both west and east of Layfield Road at the Hoffmansville intersection. The chemicals have also poisoned private wells on the north and south side of Hoffmansville Rd. During the zoning hearings, New Hanover Township also presented an expert hydro-geologist whose findings were the same as our expert’s.
The zoning board hearings will continue for this application on Thursday, March 2, at 6:30 pm, at the township municipal building on North Charlotte Street. Gibraltar Rock’s hydro-geologist will be returning for additional testimony. In the next few months, our attorney, and the township attorney, will likely be presenting their final arguments, We hope you will stop by – even if you must arrive late or leave early. Thank you!
Gibraltar Rock’s land development plan - - -
Gibraltar Rock received “preliminary plan approval with conditions” from the New Hanover Board of Supervisors in June 2015. In December 2015, against the objections of the residents, our attorney and our professional engineer consultant, the Planning Commission made a “recommendation” for final plan approval with conditions. In June 2015, the Board of Supervisors issued a Resolution to Gibraltar Rock that when they are ready to submit a “final plan”, they must return to the Planning Commission and must fulfill all the requirements of the Resolution. Among the requirements – they must have the mining permit renewal and the NPDES permit renewal, and they must follow all court decisions related to their proposed quarry.
What will happen in 2017? - - -
The zoning hearings will conclude for the GR-4 application, and we will await the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board.
Both Ban-the-Quarry and New Hanover Township have recommended to the Zoning Hearing Board that they deny the application until the Hoff VC site is totally remediated and all sources of contamination have been identified and cleaned-up. Following the Zoning Hearing Board decision, appeals could be filed.
The PA-DEP could choose to renew the two pending permits for Gibraltar Rock.
If Gibraltar Rock does receive their two permits, they could file a “final land development plan” with the township Planning Commission. When this happens, we will need your attendance at the monthly Planning Commission meetings!
If anyone asks you - there is currently a court-ordered injunction preventing Gibraltar Rock from starting the quarry until they have a township-approved final plan.
How can you help us? - - -
You can help us pay for legal fees and transcripts for meetings. All other expenses are absorbed by our committee.
You can come to our monthly bake sales at Freed’s Market, Swamp Pike, Gilbertsville, the 3rd Saturday of each month starting in March (weather pending – check our website).
Please consider making a donation (use enclosed envelope). No amount is too small! Make checks payable to: Paradise Watchdogs - - or - - Ban the Quarry
Stop by to say hello at our bake sales at Freed’s (3rd Saturday of month, March thru November)
Check our website for further updates: banthequarry.org
We have been doing this for 15 years, thanks to your support!