Sunday, March 16, 2008

Down with the quarry -- my part

For the past several years, the city of Sand Springs, and its residents, have been fighting against a proposed quarry operation. Some guy wants to put in a big giant limestone rock quarry inside city limits.

The city adopted a "Special Use Permit" system to handle big proposals like this. What the SUP means is that "i"s are dotted and "t"s are crossed, and everybody gets a say before making their decision. So we had a hearing late last year and early this year. Three hearings, in fact. And a vote of the planning commission. And an appeal to the city council. And a vote by the city council.

The quarry was voted down, based on the interest of the public good and the burden on the city, not to mention the negative environmental impact, and strain put on the city's infrastructure.

Naturally, the landowner is appealing to the courts.

So here's where I sort of get involved. I've been against this quarry since the beginning. We're done plundering the earth, and especially so within the city limits, and within a half-mile radius of several neighborhoods, a college, and an old folks' home.

So editorially, my paper (i.e. me) has been against the quarry since the start. After the final decision of the council and the appeal to the courts, I wrote a column basically urging the landowner to drop the appeal.

Our state senator, who lives not far from the proposed quarry site, clipped out my column, made copies of it, and handed it out to all the other state senators.

The column was attached to a bill she wrote with our state representative that would let cities control the number of times they could choose to hear a quarry proposal.

The bill passed unanimously in the senate, is headed to the house, and expected to pass there. Likely the governor will sign it.

And we will be rid of this quarry threat.

And I could say I had a small part in it. :)

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