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Stop the rock, some on Keel Mountain don't want quarry

Community talks tonight about options

Posted: Nov 28, 2017 4:15 PM
Updated: Nov 29, 2017 10:26 AM

Some people on Keel Mountain, straddling Madison and Jackson counties, are upset about a new neighbor.

Tuesday night, there was a public meeting about a rock quarry that's getting ready to open.

The view from Keel Mountain is gorgeous. But some say what's happening at the foot of the mountain is the last thing they need.

Beautiful.

Peaceful.

Quiet.

Reasons folks here love life on Keel Mountain.

"We're going to lose everything we came here for," Maggie Cole told WAAY 31 News. She couldn't get the words out before she teared up.  "Honestly, it threatens the wildlife," she said.

It's the way of life for people here that's stirred up worry about the McCord Limestone Quarry. It's on the same property as the civil war era Wildwood House, home of Virginia Clay-Clopton. Loggers are clearing the way for the quarry.

"More possibilities for more sinkholes," Cole told us. "We're concerned about Radon. When you're in a Karst mountain, there is Radon in those cavern systems."

Cole says that's not to mention how blasting at the quarry might damage neighbors' homes.

A retired Wildlife Ecologist who lives on Keel Mountain told WAAY 31 she has concerns about how the blasting will impact the extensive cave system the mountain is known for.

"Caves are like the last place we have to go to find these new specimens and these new species and so we could have salamanders, or insects, that live in caves that we haven't even discovered yet," said Soos Weber, a retired Wildlife Ecologist.

WAAY 31 checked. McCord Construction put in its paperwork with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
It issued a public notice on October 4th.

ADEM tells WAAY 31 its regulators expected complaints from people, but never got a single one.

Now, the 30-day notice period has expired.

"I'm sure there was a public notice," Cole told WAAY 31. "Wasn't too public right here in Gurley. We sort of missed -- we definitely missed that. Did not know. Feel like it's kind of being rushed through."

Maggie Cole's concerned the community's window to take action has closed.

"So, yes, I am worried that it's too late. I am. So, that brings up the concern what's going to be given back to our community. If something's going to be taken from our community, what's going to be given back."

WAAY 31 reached out McCord construction. So far, no call back.

ADEM did tell us late today ... it's looking to see if people here on Keel Mountain have more options available to them.

There's a petition to stop the quarry. That petition is online at change.org.

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