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Tanner residents debate rock quarry

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

TANNER — In one sentence, a man summed the message about 100 Tanner and Athens residents have for a rock quarry company.

"We don't want you," said former teacher David Cummings.

During a community meeting at the Tanner Volunteer Fire Department, residents gave state and local leaders varied reasons for not wanting Rogers Group to move its rock quarry from northern Limestone County to Laughmiller Road in Tanner.

The site is near Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Swan Creek Wildlife Refuge, two concrete bridges on U.S. 31, a Tennessee Valley Authority megasite and an Interstate 65 interchange under construction on Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road.

Residents also are concerned about damage to their homes' foundations, water pollution to their wells and damage to roads and vehicles from trucks hauling rock.

Sarah Stone, a realtor with Weichert Realtors, said she fears it will harm home sales.

"I have to disclose that this is planning to move here," Stone said. "I've had six people with BRAC move here, but now, this will be detrimental in selling homes and getting sellers the price they deserve."

BRAC is the Base Realignment and Closure process that is moving jobs to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.

Those in favor

There were those who spoke in favor of Rogers Group, including residents who live near the quarry in northern Limestone and the quarry in Lacey's Spring in Morgan County.

Hubert Fields of Lacey's Spring said he organized a meeting when he first heard about the quarry locating there, but said the company has become a good community member. He said the company has donated money to projects and donated rock for new churches.

"I live within one mile and I never hear anything or see dust," he said.

Randy Vincent, however, who lives next to the Limestone quarry, said he has been fighting with Rogers Group's insurance company over cracks to his foundation.

The company has not yet bought the Laughmiller property, but Sen. Tom Butler, D-Madison, and Limestone County Commission Chairman David Seibert said there is nothing to stop them.

Butler and Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, have said they will sponsor legislation in 2008 to limit blasting near nuclear plants.

Butler told citizens Thursday that officials are looking at water issues and are in discussions with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Transportation about the proposed quarry.

Traci McLin, a hairstylist who lives on Laughmiller, started a petition against the quarry. She said the petition has 758 names.

"My family has owned this land since 1911, and I'm here to protect what I have," McLin said. "We don't need a lot of shaking going on near a nuclear plant."

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