Residents Blast DHEC Leaders Over Mine Proposal

Passionate debate filled a DHEC meeting tonight. Dozens of residents showed up upset about how a possible sand and gravel mine in Calhoun County could harm their community

Calhoun County, SC (WLTX) – A room full of residents blasted DHEC leaders with concerns over a mine proposal in Calhoun County.

Culclasure Farm is asking for a permit to mine sand and gravel on 68 acres of land off of Horsefeathers Lane for 10 years.

"Y'all knew ya'll were coming to meet the community to answer our questions and I haven't really heard any question with a definite answer,” Resident Gregg Rucker explained.

“And if there is no risk to the air quality being affected is there data to back that up and if so where might we access it,” Resident Monica Roe questioned during the DHEC meeting.

Many residents at Thursday's public meeting felt that they were not getting the answers they were looking for.

"Well we understand there are a lot of concerns from folks," Robert Yanity with DHEC explained. "We can take those concerns back and we can look at the permit application and see how we can factor their concerns in." 

Leaders with Culclasure Farm said they are not commenting on their permit proposal at this time but residents who live near the area are concerned about how the company's operation would affect the noise, Big Beaver Creek and wildlife.

In Culclasure's permit application it states that the mine will not harm any nearby homes because there is no blasting or chemical contamination .

They also say they will only shallowly penetrate the water table and that trees and a berm they will build will keep the mine hidden.

Previous Coverage: Calhoun Residents Concerned by Mine Proposal

Councilman John Nelson passionately explained his frustration during the meeting.

He said two years ago he was in a meeting with Culclasure and said he was told they wanted to create a small recreational area.

“It is different than what was represented to me in the meeting,” Nelson explained.

Nelson said Horsefeather Lane is a dirt road maintained by the county. He said he is concerned about all of the traffic going up and down that road.  

“What sort of mitigation are they going to do to widen, resurface, strengthen the road,” the councilman asked. “It’s just not a great place for large vehicles.”

Residents expressed safety concerns of Highway 21 being right near the operation and how it would add to the already problematic traffic. 

"When it's wet cars flying over that hill and hit that sand truck and you're going to have people getting killed," a concerned citizen said at the meeting. 

Residents are upset over the fact that the company would be permitted to withdraw 3 million gallons of groundwater per month.

DHEC is currently collecting well survey forms from the folks in that area to see how the mine would affect their well water.

“Can you give us a timeframe when you can come back with some decent answers,” one resident said during the meeting.

“Even though we didn’t have all the answers for them tonight, we can take their concerns back and get the answers that they want,” Yanity said.

They plan to set up more public meeting for input in the future.

To see the permit, please visit: http://www.scdhec.gov/Apps/Environment/PublicNotices/SearchAndDisplay/Display/3102

For questions about the proposed mine or how to submit comments, contact DHEC Project Manager Ed Haigler at 803-898-1375 or haiglewe@dhec.sc.gov. 

It's unknown when a final decision will be made.  

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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