For Immediate Release
July 27, 2011
DEP Should Act Carefully and Deliberately on NHCS Permit Issue
By Senator Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks)
In the near future, the Department of Environmental
Protection is expected to rule on the New Hope Crushed Stone and Lime Company's
application to mine an additional 50 feet below the 120 feet that have already
been quarried in Solebury. It is extremely important to study how this operation
could affect public health and safety in our community, and I am urging DEP to
delay or deny this permit until we have an opportunity to study how this issue
could affect local businesses and residents.
Scientific studies (including those conducted by DEP) have
documented the serious environmental impacts of NHCS activity on Primrose Creek.
Solebury School has experienced numerous sinkholes in recent years resulting
from adjacent mining activity, threatening the safety of students, faculty and
staff. A number of properties in the watershed have also suffered well failures
due to groundwater diversions by NHCS. All of these dangers could be exacerbated
by the approval of this permit, needlessly placing the health, safety and
viability of the community at risk.
Given these concerns, I strongly believe that it would be
reckless and irresponsible for DEP to approve this permit without additional
study of how it could affect the community.
Consultants paid by NHCS issued two reports in May that
attempted to address these concerns (including and a sinkhole minimization and
mitigation plan that only served to minimize and mitigate the company's
responsibility to pay for damages it causes). It is important for DEP to balance
these reports against other scientific evidence that shows the potential hazards
posed by additional quarrying. It would be wholly irresponsible for DEP to rely
primarily on reports funded by NHCS while turning a blind eye to scientific
evidence from other reputable sources.
In recent months, I have joined a number of Solebury school
officials, environmental advocates and Township representatives in meetings with
Secretary Krancer and other DEP representatives to discuss this issue at length.
All parties in the discussions have expressed serious concerns regarding the
current and future impacts this operation could have on our community. We have
urged DEP to either deny this application or allow more time for a sufficient
review of the potential harm this proposal could cause; however, I am very
concerned that these concerns could fall on deaf ears.
This issue could have a dire impact on local businesses and
residents and create a serious danger to students and faculty at Solebury
School. This permit application deserves a thorough review, and all stakeholders
should be given ample time to study the effects of continued mining operations
in our community. The health and safety of our community is at risk, and I am
hopeful that Secretary Krancer and DEP officials will act responsibly and give
this issue the proper time and consideration it deserves. It is better to take
the time to get this decision right than to allow the community to suffer
potentially severe consequences if DEP's decision is wrong.