MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP — More than 200 Mad River Township residents attended a public meeting at the Greenon High School cafeteria April 13 in an ongoing effort to stop a proposed quarry that Enon Sand and Gravel LLC is seeking approval from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The meeting was conducted by Citizens Against Mining (CAM). The grassroots group started out as a core group of 20 concerned township residents who quickly mobilized the first of March in response to the news that Enon Sand and Gravel had applied for state approval to merge two existing mining permits into one and to modify significantly its mining operations of 420.6 acres in the township.
The property, which is bordered on the north by Rebert Pike, on the south by Garrison and Hustead roads, on the east by South Tecumseh Road, and on the west by Hagen Road, is directly adjacent to more than 200 homes, several businesses, and the high school.
Enon Sand and Gravel LLC Nov. 3, 2016 applied to ODNR Division of Mineral Resources Management requesting the approval of a proposed amendment that would merge two existing mining permits that were transferred from Demmy Construction Inc. to Enon Sand and Gravel LLC in December 2015.
Permit 1, which applies to a 21.8-acre property, allows the mining of sand, gravel, and limestone. The existing mining plan also allows blasting and the extraction of deeply buried ground water, known as dewatering. Permit 2, which pertains to 398.8 acres, allows the mining of sand, gravel, and limestone. However, no blasting or dewatering is allowed under the terms of that permit. According to ODNR-DMRM Field Supervisor Tyson Lamielle, the existing permits were initially issued in 1977.
Enon Sand and Gravel in January asked ODNR–DMRM to approve significant modifications to the mining plan that would increase the mining depth approximately 63 feet and permit dewatering. The extracted water would then be discharged into Mud Creek which is the nearest waterway. Blasting would be required during these operations.
According to CAM Acting President Diana Pry, whose home on Garrison Road is directly adjacent to the proposed mining site, ongoing efforts are needed to stop the spread of deep-layer mining and its wide-ranging negative effects.
“Even if the ODNR was to deny the mining company’s requests, the company can appeal that decision or reapply at a later date,” Pry said. “The Clark County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) may be the key as to resolving this problem.”
Pry noted that the BZA hears applications for variances and conditional use requests under county zoning jurisdiction and appeals brought forward from decisions made by the zoning administrator.
“Bottom line, we need to stop all mining activities within the 398.8 acres covered by Permit 2,” Pry said. “We are asking the community to write letters to both the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Clark County Board of Zoning Appeals. We have letter templates on our website that individuals can download and make their own. People can sign an online petition on our website too.”
The ODNR will accept public comments until Friday, April 21. According to Mad River Township Trustee Kathy Estep, the township has requested an extension to the comments and objection deadline date and is awaiting confirmation from ODNR. However, if the ODNR approves the permits, the decision may be appealed within 30 days by any person who has an interest or who may be adversely affected.
Pry also noted that the group is focusing on delivering all the signed petitions to the ODNR and the Clark County Board of Zoning Appeals by Thursday. Should an extension be granted, CAM will continue to circulate petitions and continue the letter writing.
The next CAM meeting will be held 6-8 p.m. Sunday, April 23 at Enon Primary School. For more information, visit the Citizens Against Mining – Mad River Township website at https://citizensagainstmining.org. Information is also available at www.facebook.com/Citizens-Against-Mining-Mad-River-Township-OH-1384581848271967. A Go Fund Me page has been established to help CAM with costs. Visit www.gofundme.com/CAM-MRT.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.