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Tanner to hold rock quarry debate Oct. 25

By M.J. Ellington · (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — People at Tanner who want to throw verbal stones about a proposed rock quarry can tell decision makers their opinions at a public meeting.

Tanner quarry supporters will have the same opportunity.

Sen. Tom Butler, D-Madison, and Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, said the 7 p.m. meeting on Oct. 25 at Tanner Volunteer Fire Department will give area residents that chance.

Rep. Henry White, D-Athens, and Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, will likely join Butler and Hammon at the meeting, he said.

“The purpose is to hear from people in the Tanner area,” Butler said.

Nuclear plant concerns

He and Hammon said they will sponsor legislation in 2008 to limit blasting near nuclear power plants.

The proposed quarry site is too close to Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, they say.

Butler said he and Hammon began thinking of ways to stop the quarry after hearing people’s concerns at a Limestone County Commission meeting two weeks ago.

Hammon said he believes the Rogers Group, a Nashville company that wants the quarry at Tanner, has an option on the property, but does not yet own it.

The company operates a quarry in Elkmont, but wants to move closer to the primary growth area in Limestone County.

Alabama Department of Environmental Management confirmed Wednesday that Rogers filed the required permit application, but does not have approval to proceed.

ADEM spokesman Jerome Hand said ADEM received the application Oct. 4, requesting permits from the Air and Mining divisions.

“We are in the process of reviewing the application now and will do a site visit at an undetermined time,” Hand said.

He said there is no time frame for how long an application review may take.

“There are too many variables,” he said.

Hand said if ADEM gives initial approval to the application after that time, the public will have 30 days to comment or request a public hearing.

ADEM will post notices on its Web site and in an area newspaper-of-record classified ad, he said.

Opponents say the area’s housing developments, traffic congestion and protected wildlife habitats are reason enough to oppose the quarry. They believe the quarry could stymie growth near an Interstate 65 interchange being built at Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road.

That area is a Tennessee Valley Authority megasite and prime territory for industrial development.

Proponents say the quarry operations will not threaten residential areas or the nuclear power plant and will not present an environmental hazard.

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