Photo by Tracey Wolfe
Grainger Today Editor
RUTLEDGE – Grainger County resident Lori Lockhart addressed members of the Grainger County Commission Monday regarding a developing quarry in the Joppa area.
Lockhart asked commissioners for their support in opposing the issuance of a NPDES permit by TDEC for the quarry, being established by Claiborne Hauling, LLC, Todd Claiborne, chief manager.
TDEC has issued a notice of violation to Claiborne and ordered him to immediately cease all construction/development activities on the site following an inspection of the property that was conducted as part of the permit application process.
According to the notice of violation, “(1) Although the permit has not yet been issued, considerable disturbance has occurred on the site. Clearing, grubbing, overburden removal and storage, road building and excavation activities have been performed over several acres. (2) No Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control erosion and runoff have been installed as called for in the application submitted for permitting the area. (3) The site plan submitted with the original application appears to show the mining location incorrectly as all of the existing disturbance is to the southwest of the proposed permit area and totally outside the proposed permit boundary.”
An exception to the cease work order from TDEC was extended for the bridge being constructed over Richland Creek, because a permit has been issued for work there.
Remedies for the violations call for the installation of best management practices to control runoff from disturbed areas within 10 days of receipt of the notice of violation. Revised maps accurately depicting the area to be disturbed under the permit are to be submitted within 30 days of receipt of the notice. Currently disturbed areas that are not to be included within the permit boundary are to be regraded, seeded and stabilized to address runoff or water quality concerns.
The present permit has been withdrawn from draft status until the revised maps and related documents have been received and approved. Upon re-issuance of a draft, a public comment period will again begin. The last day to comment was previously set as Dec. 21.
Lockhart said both State Rep. Jerry Sexton and State Sen. Frank Niceley have agreed to write letters to TDEC in support of the community, against the project.
“I know that there is very little that you guys can do,” Lockhart told commissioners. “I understand that. We cannot allow one man to come into our community and not be honest with the citizens. It’s just not right.”
She said, “We’ve gotta come together as a community, and we’ve gotta find a way to stop this.”
Commissioner Andy Cameron made a motion to have the county attorney look into the possibility of sending a letter to TDEC opposing the NPDES permit for the Fish Lake quarry.
Commissioner Becky Johnson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business commissioners approved:
• Reappointment of Kim Harding to the Parks and Recreation Board for a term to expire Dec. 2022;
• a capital outlay note for $40,000 for two years at an interest rate of 2.51 percent for road repair;
• acquiring estimates for the cost to expand parking at the Grainger County Justice Center; and
- tabled discussion about the establishment of a court security reserve to be funded through court fees.