Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Home ground is precious.

Email letter sent to State Representative and Attorney General (KY)....

Dear _________:

This is a highly time sensitive item, and we ask that you do both take action and reply as soon as possible.

A tiny article in the Clay City Times was almost overlooked by the people of Furnace Mountain (Powell County). It was on page A-13, buried, and in tiny print that discouraged reading of it. It read as follows:

"Notice of intention to Mine Non-Coal Mineral
Pursuant to Application Number 099-9402

In accordance with KRS 350.055, Notice is hereby given that Red River Materials, LLC P.O. Box 13577, Lexington, KY  40583 intends to apply for a non-coal surface mining permit for limestone affecting 44.3 acres located approcinately 5.25 miles south of Stanton in Powell County.

The proposed operation is approcimately 425 feet West of Knowlton Road and Furnace Road and located 0l25 miles South of Pecks Creek. The latitude is 37^47'04". The longditude is 83^49'49".

The proposed operation is located on the Stanton U.S.G.S. 7 1/2 minuted quadrangle map. The Operation will use the pit method of mining.The surface area is owned by Brian and Carmen Billings.

The application will be on file for public inspection ar the Department for Natural Resources Frankfort Office, #2 Hudson Hollow, Frankfort, KY. Written comments, objections, or request for a permit conference must be filed with Director, Division of Mine an dReclamation & Enforcement, #2 Hudson Hollow, Frankfort, KYY 40601, within 15 days of the date of this advertisement and briefly summarize the issues to be raised at a conference."

Sir, there is so much wrong with this application for the given location that it's painful to describe.

For one thing, quarry type operations have been closed down in the area before, ie: Furnace Mountain. The Mountain has an odd geologic pattern, for one thing. For another, the roads will not support the kind of heavy traffic that the trucks going back and forth to a crusher would constitute. The roads are already narrow and without adequate guard rail in places.School buses would be endangered, unable in places to negotiate safely against oncoming trucks; it's already a problem with logging trucks and some farm equipment. The roads are simply not suitable for that kind of traffic.

Another thing is that, as the mountain is primarily sandstone, and sinkholes are increasingly showing up, fracturing the bedrock would cause unsafe conditions for miles. We see no evidence of this being taken into consideration. Point in context, numerous mountain homes have basements that would be damaged. Our own home is in-ground, a modified earth bermed.A few feet from our house, one can stand and tap the ground, hearing the reverberations of water within rock tanks below ground - our property has numerous seepage springs on it. Within roughly a mile of the site, at least 10 to 15 homes fall into the danger zone.

This brings us to the damage to ground water; many people on Furnace Mountain use wells or springs for their water. If the structure of the mountain is damaged by blasts, this water may be fouled or lost entirely. We, none of us, can afford the damage.

Also, what of the numerous gas wells, some in use? People depend on those wells for heat, cooking, and more. Not to mention the possible danger of a gas well being ignited in the area. There is little fire protection, no fire station closer than Stanton, an average of some 8 miles away.

The site is also a historica landmark, including the Brandenburg Cave and a Civil War soldier's gravesite. Generations have visited the cave, and some of the mountain residents have family history there. (We have notified the Red River Historical Society of the situation.)

This operation would create a great deal of dust, loud noise (I repeat, many homes exist within a about a mile of the location), and disturbance in the process. The area is by no means an abandoned property zone. It is a quiet residential and farming area, where the residents enjoy it as such.

The damage to land, health, peace of mind, the wildlife and hunting, local plants and animals and livestock, simple garden crops, would be irreversable. No one of the residents of the mountain moved there to live in the kind of atmosphere created by a rock quarry with the inevitable big trucks and noise, health risks, and destruction that would ensue should this application be approved. Most of the residents are, like us, not rich by anyone's description. In fact, most are low income and live affordably on the mountain, where they can and do raise gardens and children, have pets and livestock, and live and let live quietly. Should this proceed, we all expect the already low property values to plummet. We will all lose.

We would like to continue doing the same: living peacefully and quietly. Can you please help? We have only a few places to turn to, and this operation must be stopped. The deadline is Friday, the 9th. A petition has made the rounds, a Mr. Martin gathering them up. Let us know if you need more information. Thank you for listening.


Rondall ("Ronnie") L. Tipton
Rhonda L.M. Tipton