This month, both Auburn and Opelika residents have overwhelmingly spoken out against a proposed granite quarry that would be located just outside of the Opelika city limit. These citizens demanded the attention of the Lee County Commission, who responded by voting unanimously for drafting a resolution that opposes the construction, in addition to calling for a public hearing from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the department that holds the fate of a community's backyard in its hands.
This is how city government should work. Members of the community stood up against a problem that they feared would affect their homes and loved ones. We, the Plainsman editorial board, not only stand behind those who voiced their concerns, but we stand behind the efforts to stop the quarry from being built.
The downsides of the quarry, planned by Creekwood Resources, are worthy of concern, primarily the potential pollution that it could bring. Two miles away from the prospective site is Saugahatchee Lake, Opelika's primary source for water and all of Lee County's secondary source.
Creekwood Resources applied for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, which regulates the sources that could discharge pollutants to groundwater. With all the information available on pollution, it isn't the smartest idea to allow a company to run off its waste this close to a body of water that an entire community relies on.
Beyond the harmful contaminants that the quarry could potentially put in the water, the noise pollution that it would bring would thoroughly disrupt the surrounding area. What's specifically at risk is Storybook Farms, a non-profit that helps children through mental illness and trauma. The founder, Dena Little, is able to help 1,500 kids a year by providing them with a tranquil environment that includes both equine and canine therapy.
If the quarry is built, it would be 1,000 yards away, thrashing through that tranquility. On top of potentially tainting the water these kids drink, if construction is successful, it would also destroy their way of healing from the stress they’ve already had to deal with.
This is why we stand proudly with the community on the opposing side. With such a large amount of residents passionately expressing their reasons why it shouldn't be here, through letters and town hall appearances, it makes sense that Lee County does everything it can to stop it from coming. Members of the community should have their voices heard when they try to protect their homes. That’s why everyone should continue to support the fight against the quarry. Send letters to everyone you can, show up to meetings and let ADEM know how you feel.
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We call on the ADEM to thoroughly consider abandoning the project altogether. Let the people who live in the area affected decide for themselves and be the voice that matters.
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