"STOP THE QUARRY; SAVE OLD HICKORY LAKE!" -- PASS BL2015-1254
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STOP THE QUARRY; SAVE OLD HICKORY LAKE!
Industrial Developers, LLC (“IDL”) in Nashville, Tennessee, has applied for a surface mining permit (also known as strip mining) with the end result being the establishment and operation of a limestone quarry on approximately 141 acres, which lies a mere 200 feet from Old Hickory Lake. According to the Antidegredation Statement in the permit application, IDL anticipates operations at the quarry to proceed for “more than 20 years” and also seeks to lease portions of the land to asphalt and ready-mix concrete corporations. As stated in IDL’s Antidegredation Statement, the purported positive outcomes of the quarry include “more availability of crushed stone materials, increased local tax revenue, and additional local jobs”. What is not addressed, however, are the inevitable negative impacts to the land and surrounding communities.
Ecological Impact: The property affected by the proposed mining operations is surrounded by Old Hickory Lake, nature and hiking trails, marshes and wetlands, the Cumberland River, Old Hickory Dam, farmland, and residential homes. The involved property and surrounding acreage is home to a multitude of wildlife species, including at least two known pairs of nesting bald eagles, various migratory birds, many of which are protected by The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, deer, rabbits, raccoons, and other wildlife. Additionally, this property and the surrounding area is located in the Old Hickory Watershed where there are known endangered and/or threatened wildlife, protected under the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act requires that a business apply for a “take permit” if its actions will impact an endangered species. This company failed to secure such a permit prior to clearing approximately 33 acres of land. Local wildlife has already been either eradicated or displaced due to the desecration of its habitat.
Environmental Impact: With more than 8,600 documented caves, Tennessee has more caves than any other state. The impact of blasting near caves often results in unintended sinkholes, caves, and rock fractures, thereby aggravating the already delicate underground system. Also in jeopardy are the natural water resources. According to the United States Geological Survey (“USGS”), in 2010 approximately 2.4 million people resided in and obtained water from the Cumberland River watershed; that population has significantly increased in the last 5 years. Based on an application for a water discharge permit, IDL intends to discharge industrial storm water and wastewater from the limestone quarry into the Cumberland River. Ground water pollution can occur both directly and indirectly as a result of surface mining drainage which originates from pits, ponds, or rainfall infiltration and ground water flow during mining and after “supposed” reclamation. If permitted, this will have serious consequences to wildlife, the flora and fauna, recreational activities, and those who source their water from the Cumberland River.
Residential Impact: Homes and business structures in this area are of historical significance, and include many that are on the National Historical Registry. These homes were not built to withstand the effects of blasting. Not only will limestone blasting cause damage to foundations, it also creates fine dust particles that permeate the air which, through normal weather patterns, will be carried for miles and affect a multitude of neighboring communities. Fine dust particles will coat automobiles, outdoor furniture, patios and decks, swimming pools, and will seep into homes through the tiniest of cracks and enter into the air ducts and HVAC systems. Combined blasting and work at the quarry will also create noise pollution—the sounds of explosions, drilling, crushing, loading, dumping, back up alarms, the sound of large trucks entering and exiting the quarry area, and general truck traffic on local streets. Often, mining operations implement multiple shifts, thus creating light pollution resulting from bright working lights, trucks, and other machinery.
Health Impact: According to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) various elements in limestone are known to cause irritation in eyes, skin, the respiratory system, mucus membranes, and can cause coughing, sneezing, rhinorrhea (discharge of thin nasal mucus), and lacrimation (discharge of tears) to name just a few. Respirable silica dust particles cannot be seen with the naked eye, but cause lung disease if one is overexposed to inhaling the substance. Other adverse effects of respirable silica dust particles include: shortness of breath; difficulty breathing with or without exertion; diminished work capacity; diminished chest expansion; reduction of lung volume; right heart enlargement and/or failure. Excessive crystalline silica exposure may be associated with adverse health effects involving the kidneys, scleroderma (thickening of the skin caused by swelling and thickening of fibrous tissue) and other autoimmune disorders.
Recreational Impact: Today, Old Hickory Lake allows visitors to enjoy swimming, sailing, water skiing, and motor boating, jet skiing, and kayaking, to name just a few water activities, while the shoreline provides a sandy beach, playground area for children, a boat ramp, marinas, and campgrounds. Hikers can take advantage of the Old Hickory Lake Nature Trail, which features three loops—the Woodland Loop, the Willow Swamp Loop, and the Wildlife Loop. Birders will find a mix of waterfowl, wading birds, migratory songbirds and the occasional snowy egret or blue heron. Other wildlife includes wild turkey, rabbits, white-tailed deer, coyotes, and the Bald Eagle. Fishermen can relax as they cast their lines and reel in a nice bass or catfish. Tomorrow …
In an effort to halt mining operations, District 11 Councilman, Larry Hagar, of Old Hickory, Tennessee, has proposed Ordinance Bill No. BL2015-1254 which states, in part, “No mineral extraction activity, including the transport of material extracted, shall occur within 500 feet of any property line, within 1,000 feet of a residential structure, or within 2,000 feet of the property line of a park.”
As you can very well imagine, a strip mining impact on the ecosystem, environment, residences, health and recreation in and around Old Hickory Lake and the immediate surrounding areas, will also affect the local economy and tourism industry—after all, who wants to camp near or allow their children to run just beyond an area where there is blasting? Who wants to swim in a polluted and unhealthy lake?
Please sign this petition and show your support to STOP THE QUARRY AND SAVE OLD HICKORY LAKE!
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