Once again it seems that our elected officials have succumbed to the pressures of big business. By granting the expansion of American Stone Company's mining activities, the Orange County Board of Commissioners disregarded the concerns of the community surrounding the rock quarry. In a 3 to 2 vote, the board granted American Stone Company a permit to mine rock for another 30 years.
I am disturbed that part of this permit allows for longer quarry hours. The quarry's original operating hours were Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Now, American Stone may continue to blast and crush rock from Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to as late as 7 p.m. There is no logical explanation for the board to grant this extension of quarry hours except to allow the quarry to be more profitable. Most people would agree that weekends should be a time for peace and relaxation. Unfortunately, our board of commissioners does not agree. The community surrounding American Stone Company will have to endure the noise, pollution and hazardous road conditions on the weekend as well as during the work week.
The absolute irony in all of this is the fact that the current quarry pit will be a future reservoir for OWASA to provide water to Chapel Hill. The rural community surrounding the rock quarry that has endured the noise and associated problems from the mining activities will not be provided OWASA water. Isn't it time that our elected officials harbor the interests of the people instead of corporations such as American Stone Company and Orange Water and Sewer Authority?
--FRANK TUTTLE, CHAPEL HILL
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