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Shelby residents need to speak out against proposed quarry

Posted 4 April 2014 at 12:00 am

Editor:

I’m writing in response to the Hub article regarding the proposed stone quarry in the Town of Shelby. (Click here to see “Shelby hearing will focus on quarry’s environmental impacts.”)

Several of the statements made by Mr. David Mahar, President of Frontier LLC, are misleading at best.  Some of them are completely false.  I believe it is important for the residents of the town, and anyone who values our community and wildlife refuge, to have the facts regarding this proposed project.  My comments are in italics.

In the Hub article, Mr. Mahar stated that “We are pleased with the DEIS as its analysis reinforces our long-standing position that responsible mining can provide mineral reserves without harming the environment.”

Mr. Mahar should be very pleased with the DEIS. The document states that the quarry will not have a negative impact on the community or the refuge. However, in the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Frontier Stone hand-picked the consulting firm that produced the DEIS, Continental Placer.  Frontier Stone paid Continental Placer.  And the lead geologist for Continental Placer, John Helert, is Mr. Mahar’s first cousin.  

The article continues, “Mahar said the quarry will add 15 jobs and also will benefit the local economy through the purchase of goods and services from local vendors and service providers, such as local truckers, electricians, and equipment and materials suppliers. He also expects the mine will supply lime to local farmers.

Frontier Stone’s 2006 mining permit application to the NYSDEC stated that the total number of jobs created  by the quarry was 4-5.  Now there are 15 jobs. I think we should hear what those other 11 jobs will be. 

According to Mahar, “The refuge is a true natural treasure in our community and we were pleased with the DEIS’s analysis which fully evaluates and addresses potential impacts on the refuge from the proposed quarry’s operation.”

In 2006 Mr.Mahar referred to the residents opposed to the quarry as “NIMBY’s” (Not In My BackYard.) He stated this during his presentation at the Shelby Town Hall.  Jump ahead to 2014 and he is now a member of our community and the refuge is a treasure to him?  Really? 

Mahar continues, “We expect our quarry operation to generate significant economic benefits to the community in terms of, among other benefits, additional employment, the purchase of services and goods in the area for many years.”

The proposed quarry will have very little effect on our local economy. Total taxes to be collected by the town for this project are expected to be roughly $12,000 – $14,000 annually. Three nice homes would produce more in taxes, and have less potential environmental impact.  We have many other quarries in the area, employing people and producing stone. Frontier’s quarry will be taking business and jobs from those established quarries. Those quarries also produce a surplus of Ag Lime for local farmers. We don’t need Mr. Mahar’s Ag Lime more than we need to keep this quarry away from our refuge. 

Finally I’d like to address some of the “facts” in Frontier Stone’s Fact Sheet:

The proposed quarry is located in the Town of Shelby in Orleans County about 3.7 miles south of the Village of Medina. The property principally fronts along Fletcher Chapel Road with a small portion along Sour Springs Road. The proposed site historically was and currently is used for farming. South of the site is a National Grid power line and south of the power line is the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Anyone who has been to the refuge knows that the only thing that separates the proposed quarry site from the refuge is the power lines. They will provide no protection to the refuge from this project.

The excavation area is approximately 172.2 acres. Mining will be divided into four phases over the operational life of the mine estimated to be 75 years. The proposed mine will lower the present topographic surface by 100-150 feet. The site will be reclaimed by grading, replacing topsoil and revegetating upland areas with an approved seed mix. The reclamation objective and plan is to create open space and will include the creation of two lakes for recreation and wildlife habitat preservation.

That’s correct.  In 75 years, we will end up with two, 150 foot deep, straight drop off, rectangular lakes, so dangerous, that the local police regularly patrol the ones at the Mountain Road quarry in Gasport to keep the public from getting hurt or worse.  Those “lakes” are owned by Lafarge Stone.  Those “lakes” were previously owned by Frontier Stone.

It is anticipated that the quarry operation will create approximately 15 jobs directly and also increase demand for goods and services including from local vendors and service providers such as local truckers, electricians and materials suppliers.

Frontier’s own original application to the DEC in 2006 stated that the quarry would generate 4-5 jobs total. That document is no longer in the DEIS. The application included in the most recent version of the DEIS is undated, unsigned and altered from its original form.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has accepted the draft environmental impact statement and will take public comments about the plan during a 6 p.m. hearing April 30 at the Town Hall on Salt Works Road.

All Town of Shelby residents need to attend this meeting and make it very clear to the Town Board that you oppose any re-zoning of this land for this quarry.  And let the DEC know that you are paying their salaries to review the DEIS for accuracy and validity, not merely to rubber stamp the approval of this mining permit.

Wendi Pencille
Town of Shelby resident