Thursday, October 15, 2009

City Council faces tough decisions on the red-dirt mining and limestone quarrying but the real point hasn't been made by anyone

Red dirt and limsstone should not be mined. Period. The environmental damage of blasting out limestone is incalculable. This is all in an area where the karst geology dictates no more growth if growth can't happen without limestone quarrying and red-dirt mining. Red dirt should not be placed on the surface. Red-dirt runoff takes decades to settle out of our waterways.
Two pubic officials have asked me why I haven't spoken on this subject in a public meeting. What I have to say is so obvious and has been so long established in Northwest Arkansas that I can't imagine that no one has failed to understand it and I really don't enjoy saying the obvious over and over.
I am glad that the council and its committees are trying to deal with this. The dumptruck tailgates and the dangerous traffic exactly as described by residents of the area near the mining and quarrying area were things we lived with daily throughout the destruction of 30 acres of wooded and prairie wetland in the Town Branch neighborhood for the Aspen Ridge project and then more another year during construction of the Hill Place apartments. The council never noticed all that was going on right up here between 11th Stree and Martin Luther King Boulevard because we seldom complained. Oh, sure, I documented a bit of it online, but that isn't the same as bringing in a crowd to dominate public meetings. Our neighbors were cursed and threatened by people afraid their high-wage jobs would be thretened by any complaints about the noise, dust, mud and silt running into the Town Branch. Thanks to our previous mayor, some council members actually thought that dredging and filling wetland to allow apartment or condo construction was "the best thing that could happen to our neighborhood." I think that the majority of council members now realize that he was wrong.
More and more people step forward now to say that they are sorry they didn't speak up before. And new owners of homes along the Town Branch are asking how the city could ever have approved such inappropriate construction.

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