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Crowd questions DHEC at meeting on proposed quarry near Andrews

The Georgetown Times - 12/7/2017

The Department of Health and Environmental Control met with citizens Nov. 30 at Andrews High School to answer questions regarding the permitting process for a proposed limestone quarry in the Earle community.

In June, DHEC’s Bureau of Land and Waste Management received an application for an Individual Mine Operating Permit for the proposed RDA Mine. Since then a group of concerned citizens opposed to a mine coming to their community has steadily been growing.

DHEC Director of Media Relations Tim Kelly said the public meeting was held so citizens could learn more about the mine. He said this was also an opportunity for citizens to provide their input.

“We’re at the beginning of the process of generating public comments. Folks will have a lot of opportunities to weigh in on what’s going on,” said Kelly.

Approximately 30 DHEC staff stood at stations, where individuals could meet and ask questions about that particular topic. However, the setting quickly changed to the point that a few representatives stood in the middle of a circle of citizens, answering questions from well monitoring to dust from trucks.

April O’Leary of the Winyah Rivers Foundation questioned well monitoring and the impact of water quality.

“To suggest that a limestone mine is not going to have any impact on the water quality is absurd,” she said. “As far as the proposal I’m seeing, there’s not enough monitoring.”

Lillie Hannah has been living on her farm on Jump and Run Road that is adjacent to the proposed mine. “I figure I don’t have a whole lot of years left, so I want to live there like I’m living now,” said Hannah, who will turn 84 in January. “I’m told I can keep my well - if the mine don’t mess it up.”

Andrews resident Dawn Jordan Higbe asked what are the positive outcomes related to having a mine. A DHEC representative said they do not consider those in the decision making process.

“We at DHEC are duty-bound to follow the laws and regulations and make certain the company has met the technical requirements.” She added that there are issues, and “offsite impact” is one. “That is our focus on this particular mine. To make sure that it is drafted and issued that it is protected.”

DHEC is currently in the evaluation phase of the request. If issued, the permit must be protective of the surrounding communities per DHEC regulations.

All questions will be taken into consideration during this phase. DHEC representatives also encourage citizens to submit written comments of a technical nature. For more information about the mine visit http://www.scdhec.gov/Environment/Quarry/RDAMine /.

For more information about quarry operations visit www.scdhec.gov/Environment/Quarry/. If you would like to be on the DHEC mailing list to receive future information about this proposed project, please contact Ruthie Hall at hallmr@dhec.sc.gov or 803-898-4379.

DHEC says a formal public hearing will be scheduled for early 2018 where citizens will be able to submit their comments in writing or stand and make their comments.

Comments may also be submitted online or through the mail at the site listed above. “Those public comments are very important as we move forward in looking at the application, looking at any conditions that might be placed on the application - its very important to come and have their say.” said Kelly.


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