RICE TWP. – Pennsy Supply Inc. hasn’t proven it won’t affect a recently upgraded waterway that borders Small Mountain Quarry, a nearby landowner testified at a hearing on Tuesday.
For that reason Dorrance Township shouldn’t approve the quarry’s expansion, he said.
Kevin Casey, who has adamantly opposed the expansion from the outset, argued the state recently upgraded Balliet Run to a high-quality designation, which requires much more stringent pollution mitigations. Therefore, he said, Pennsy’s application to the state Department of Environmental Protection is incomplete until those sections are addressed.
“It’s ironic that today’s Earth Day,” Casey said.
For more than a year, Pennsy has been attempting to expand the quarry, operated by Slusser Bros., because it claims the current site will be exhausted within five years.
Casey disputed the quarry’s local economic impact, saying the profits go to the company’s foreign owners. He said DEP records show only 23 people are employed at the quarry, not the 150 Pennsy claims.
“If this quarry wasn’t here from the very beginning, where would these 23 workers be? The answer is very simple: They would be working elsewhere,” he said, such as diesel mechanics for the state.
He introduced some grayish dust, which he called “rock flour,” that is sent into the air during blasting and settles on land outside the quarry property. Using a can of compressed air, he attempted to blow the dust around.
George Asimos, Pennsy’s attorney, reacted, and Casey addressed him directly. “You don’t want to get dust in here. You don’t want to breathe this. But we have to breathe it for the next 50 years,” he said.
He also accused the quarry and the township of ignoring alleged violations at the quarry that he had identified. He said quarry manager Patrick Bartorillo had untruthfully claimed he was unaware of violations at the quarry. Casey was forced to back away from his statement, however, when Asimos pointed out that Bartorillo had, in fact, acknowledged the complaints.
Casey’s comments stuck with his fellow residents, though. “In all reality, this is an environmental disaster waiting to happen,” he concluded, addressing the supervisors. “Do the right thing for once, deny it, deny it, deny it.”
He received a round of applause.