Vulcan Materials is up against Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina residents who have been working for months to prevent a new rock quarry from coming to their town.
Lexington County officials have amended regulations for mining operations to shield surrounding homeowners from noise and dust, but Councilman Larry Brigham, who represents Batesburg-Leesville, submitted a new proposal Tuesday.
The county’s ordinance currently requires 300 feet of separation between a mine and the closest home. Brigham’s proposal would increase the setback for extensive mining to 2,500 feet.
People find mining to be “invasive and scary,” Brigham said.
Even if the council approves the 2,500-foot limit proposal, Brigham isn’t sure that it could be enforced in the case of the Vulcan quarry. But, he said, approving the proposal would be a proactive step that could affect other mining operations looking to locate in this rural community.
“This is future protection,” Brigham said. “It’s better to have plans in place.”
“Where one quarry comes, others tend to follow,” agreed Catherine Hite, a member of the Ridge Protection Coalition, the town’s anti-quarry group.
Council members did not take a vote on Brigham’s proposal Tuesday, but they asked county staff to review it.
Work to increase setbacks is also being done at the state level. State Sen. Katrina Shealy, state Sen. Shane Massey and state Rep. Ralph Kennedy, all of whom represent Lexington County, have proposed bills requiring a setback of one half-mile.
Bills in the state House and Senate are in committee for review.