Vulcan Materials is set to open California’s Austin Quarry if the Madera County Planning Commission, California, approves the project and its decision isn’t appealed, reports the Sierra Star.
Vulcan Materials hopes for the green light on the 671-acre site, with 258 of it designated for the quarry at a projected depth of 400 feet.
Vulcan hosted a public meeting about the project yesterday. The commission will discuss the quarry on July 19.
Since Vulcan first applied for the project in July 2010, Vulcan and Madera County have received continuous criticism from the public and some state agencies over the quarry’s environmental impact, primarily to the area’s water, traffic, and air quality.
Both Vulcan and Madera County say they have worked to mitigate many of those worries, with agreements to construct new lanes on the highways and ensure they don’t drain the water wells of area homeowners.
Vulcan agreed to fund construction of an eastbound travel lane on Highway 145 from the project site to Highway 41, and an additional southbound lane on Highway 41 from that intersection to Avenue 15 about three miles south.
On water, Vulcan spokesperson Barbara Goodrich-Welk, with input from the quarry’s project manager Mike Linton, said three separate hydrogeologists/hydrologists have reviewed the project, concluding there will be no impact to the area’s groundwater supply.
“We are confident the public will recognize that we have listened to the concerns of the community and that we are committed to becoming a trusted long-term partner with Madera County,” Goodrich-Welk said.
If the estimated 250 million tons of materials are exhausted before 100 years, the quarry operations will cease at that time, with reclamation work funded by Vulcan to restore the site for water and wildlife, completed within three years per federal law.
The quarry will employ between 15 to 40 employees on site throughout its lifespan.