What is the Mine and Ways to Help?!
In early 2018, the Alamance County approved an intent-to-construct permit that was submitted by C. Wayne McDonald and Mary Margaret McDonald for a crushed stone quarry on 344.87 ± acres in the middle of Snow Camp. The land for the quarry had been purchased in the recent past by Snow Camp Property Investments, LLC.
Under the current ALAMANCE COUNTY HEAVY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE the permit was approved by the Alamance County Planning Department Director, Libby Hodges, with no notification or input from residents, no required review or oversight by the County Planning Board, and without required notification or review by the County Commissioners.
Following the approval of the County permit, Alamance Aggregates, LLC submitted a permit application to the State. The State is currently reviewing this permit application.
Who are Snow Camp Property Investments and Alamance Aggregates?
Good Question! Both Snow Camp Property Investments and Alamance Aggregates were only recently formed.
Despite their name, Snow Camp Property Investments was first registered as a business in Wyoming, and not Snow Camp, NC. This is also the case for Alamance Aggregates.
Why are they registered in Wyoming if they have names implying that they are Alamance County and Snow Camp companies? We do know is that other companies have used a Wyoming registration in the past to keep their owners' and employees' identities anonymous.
From what we have been able to research Snow Camp Property Investments and Alamance Aggregates are both owned by C. Wayne McDonald.
Both companies have very little information available publicly, however there is information available on C. Wayne McDonald here, and information on previous court cases involving him or his company can be found here and here and here. He is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings in NC.
Chad Threatt is the individual who signed the State permit application as well as the notification letters that went to adjacent property owners. As late as March 2018, after the County permit had been filed and approved, Mr. Threatt was representing Boggs Paving publicly. Members of Boggs Paving have previously been convicted of fraud in the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.
What’s the Problem?
Studies show that crushed stone quarries can affect water and air quality and noise levels, and create significant truck traffic. These types of quarries involve blasting, which creates airborne particles that are known carcinogens.
For this particular quarry, the permit application says that they will be digging to a depth of 325 feet and will be pumping out up to 500,000 gallons of water per day.
Operations like this proposed quarry can result in groundwater contamination and disturbance or depletion of local wells. In addition, there are two FEMA Floodplains on the site as well as creeks that run into Cane Creek and the Haw River. All of the water being pumped out of this site will have to go somewhere! We do not want our creeks and rivers polluted!
In addition, both a Colonial Gas pipeline carrying jet fuel, diesel fuel, kerosene, and gasoline, as well as a Duke Energy high voltage transmission line, run through the site in close proximity to the blasting area. Sylvan Elementary School is a mile from the site.
To our knowledge, no impact studies have been conducted by the County or State to determine how this will affect our community.
What’s Been Done?
By the time the issue was brought to the attention of citizens, the County had already approved the permit. After seeing a notice posted at the Snow Camp Store by another resident, we put out flyers to make people aware of the issue and to encourage them to write the County Commissioners to voice your concerns, and to the State to request a public hearing. The County Commissioners, after you flooded them with emails, held a special meeting on October 24th and passed a resolution to request that the State hold a public hearing in Alamance County. Thanks to your efforts the State held a public hearing on December 5, 2018 in Snow Camp. Following that meeting, and because of the written comments from residents and groups across the state, the sent a response to Alamance Agreegates that included 12 comments they must address in order for their permit application to be considered.
Our local State Legislator, Representative Dennis Riddell, has been actively involved in our fight. We have been reached out to state, federal and non-profit groups to notify them of the proposed quarry, and to get their help with understanding the potential impacts. We also notified Colonial Gas and Duke Energy of the proposed quarry - they told us that they had no knowledge of the permit or quarry. As a part of the state permit process, they both sent comments to the state. We also met with the Southern Environmental Law Center to learn more about how to stop this quarry.