DHEC Permit Sparks Appeal to County

Quarry Foes Question Road Paving

WINNSBORO – One week after the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued an air quality permit to Winnsboro Crushed Stone, LLC, the company dedicated to breaking ground on a rock quarry on several hundred acres off Rockton Thruway, property owners in the neighborhood made yet another appeal to County Council during the first public comment portion of Council’s Monday night meeting.

“We need ya’ll to stop them,” Clarence Pauling said. “Ya’ll are our last hope. Ya’ll belong to us. Ya’ll don’t belong to the rock quarry; ya’ll belong to us. Ya’ll were assigned to us to protect us from the outsiders that we don’t need to have here.”

Pauling said that while it would be nice to have another industry in Fairfield County, surely the County could attract “an industry that people can actually agree on, that’s not going to kill us in the end.”

The appeals came from as far away as Augusta, Ga., bringing Wayne Mixon to the podium to ask for Council’s help. Mixon said his family owns property near the proposed quarry site and they want some assurances that they and other property owners nearby will be compensated by the company if their properties suffer damage from the mining operations.

Lisa Brandenburg, a local leading opponent of the quarry, said DHEC’s air permit essentially gives the OK to dump dangerous pollution into the surrounding atmosphere.

“One third of every pound of dust is carcinogens,” she said. “They are cancer causing. It is stated in the air permit that has been issued that fugitive dust must be suppressed by water, yet the quarry has not followed up with the Town of Winnsboro to receive water.”

Brandenburg asked Council to inform quarry opponents “of the procedures that will be used should DHEC grant the second permit needed by the quarry to operate.”

Milton Pope, County Administrator, said during his report that even if the company gets all of its necessary permits from DHEC, “they still would have to submit documentation to the County with the land development permit and all other things. Then from a local zoning matter, the County would have to approve several things in order for any operation to occur.”

Brandenburg also told Council that Rockton Thruway, a largely gravel road, had mysteriously shot up the priority list of roads waiting to be paved the County Transportation Commission (CTC).

“Nothing has changed with the land owners in wanting that road paved,” she said. “We haven’t made any requests or anything. And regardless of the reason, it won’t change the definition that it’s still a minor road.”

The CTC, Pope said later, was appointed by the local legislative delegation and manages state funds dedicated to paving county roads. The County, through ordinance, set the criteria by which roads are ranked and scheduled to be paved.

“There have been absolutely no special meetings or discussions about Rockton Thruway,” Pope said, “so where it is on the list is where it is on the list based upon that evaluation. There has been absolutely no communication with us about that.”

Councilman Billy Smith, who represents District 7 in which the proposed quarry would lie, said he recently received a copy of the CTC’s road paving list, which gave Rockton Thruway a lower priority.

“If anybody has any information other than that,” Smith told the quarry opponents, “let me see that and I will contact them and see why there might have been a change or if I received old information.”