More than 200 people showed up at Madison County Elementary for a public hearing with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The topic of conversation was the Hurricane Creek Rock Quarry. Vulcan Materials wants to open the quarry on Highway 72, two miles from Madison County High School and 1 mile from Madison County Elementary.
"My opinion on the rock quarry is I'm against it," said County Commissioner Eddie Sisk. Sisk was one of the many who attended the public hearing about a proposed rock quarry on the west side of Gurley Mountain. The Madison County Commission unanimously passed a resolution opposing the rock quarry a few weeks ago.
"Four thousand homes, twelve thousand people that don't want this and my question is, who is representing us?," asked Forrest Newton, who recently retired to the Gurley area.
Elected officials from around Madison County and the State were also in attendance, expressing their concerns and posing questions about health and environmental risks. Vulcan Representatives were at the meeting to address some of the concerns.
"Dust is controlled through our air permit. We use wet suppression to control the dust, but we have an over 30-year monitoring period for monitoring employee health," explained Joe Howle, who works for Vulcan in the Management of Environmental Services Department. Other representatives explained to the crowd that blasting vibration limits are well below the state limits.
But this meeting was simply a venue for ADEM to hear opinions, not answer questions. All questions and concerns were taken into record and will be reviewed by ADEM when making their final decision on Vulcan's permit amendment.
"The last permit only had, I believe, 2 discharge points and this will add a couple of extra discharge points," explained Scott Hughes a spokesman for ADEM. "Anytime we make a change to a permit like that we allow citizens an opportunity to provide comments on the departments, what we are proposing," he continued.
The representatives from ADEM were clear about one thing in particular-they do not control zoning. There is nothing they can do to actually stop a rock quarry from opening as long as the company meets all the requirement for the permit.