Recently, several communities have fought back against plans to build new concrete batch plants. A look at the issues raised in media coverage present an opportunity for concrete producers to understand perceptions of the industry, and what it takes to be a good neighbor and a good steward of the local community. It also has us asking, is the backlash a localized issue, or part of a growing trend?
Here's a look at three cases. Share your thoughts in the comment section below and stay tuned for updates on this issue from The Concrete Producer.
Dripping Springs, Texas Residents of Dripping Springs, Texas, are fighting Expedition LLC's plans to build a concrete plant. They're concerned it will be too close to schools, leaving students at risk from reduced air quality. The residents have officially formed a nonprofit to stop the project and according to a recent KVUE report, the company is fighting back with a lawsuit claiming false statements and defamation.
The lawsuit asks for between $200,000 and $1 million in damages. An attorney for the company says it is the right range for this kind of suit under Texas law.
Critics say the plant would be too close to schools and they have health concerns. The website for opponents of the batch plant now asks: “Will lawsuits force this website to go dark?”
To get its message out, Expedition LLC has set up its own website in response.
Gunter, Texas Residents packed a March 5 public meeting to discuss Charley's Concrete's plans to build a batch plant in the community. The meeting ended with county commissioners voting against the proposed plant. According to a KX11 News 12 report:
The [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] said they plan to review the concerns raised at the meeting then draft their response. This past December TECQ representatives said the proposed plant would emit a low amount of air pollution and Charley's concrete said they would take necessary action to reduce air pollution.
Charley's Concrete released a statement on March 3 saying they looked forward to talking with residents about the plant, however residents said they felt Charley's Concrete didn't answer their all their questions and many are still concerned.
"The increase in toxic particulate matter in the air just maybe 2.3 miles from an elementary school," Wood Wells, a Gunter resident, said.
That was the reason Grayson County Commissioners voted against the plant in Tuesday's meeting.
Gray Summit, Mo. Kirkwood-based Landvatter Ready Mix recently withdrew its application to construct a concrete batch plant near the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a county zoning panel had approved the plans for the plant last year, but the company has now withdrawn the application, after a lawsuit was filed alleging potential environmental risks.
At least two dozen residents petitioned to keep the plant out. Neighbors worried about what they called an eyesore in the woods, dust from the dry concrete and noise from trucks.
John Behrer, the Shaw Nature Reserve director, shared his concerns in a letter to the county last year, saying the preserve has worked for 35 years to rehabilitate its 2,400 acres ... Landowner Lyndon Stelzer, Roger Landvatter and other county officials had said significant dust would be unlikely, planned buildings would be unobtrusive, truck noise would be tolerable and the jobs are needed.
Proponents also said the plant wouldn’t be a mine or cement factory. Rather, it was billed as a mixing station ...