Letter: Mine’s Neighbors Call on Council

As landowners and taxpayers in Fairfield County, we would like to call your attention to the fact that the proposed Luck Stone quarry is totally inconsistent with the County’s goals and principles stated in the 2021 Comprehensive Plan for Fairfield County (https://www.fairfieldsc.com/uploads/general/Comp-Plan-2021.pdf).  This plan Is located on the Fairfield County Council webpage as a Resource.  By virtue of your decision making power, you have a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers to ensure the sanctity of these Comprehensive Plan goals:   

Principle: “…discourage the location of industry other than agro-industry in rural or natural resource areas.”

(Industrial Policies, 1, p 133)

Concern: The Luck Mines proposed development is clearly not “agro-industry” and is squarely in the middle of a rural, natural resource area, where people live, farm, fish and hunt.

Principle: “Protect, maintain and enhance the county’s natural resources for future generations to share and enjoy but allow for use and development of such resources in an orderly and responsible manor [manner].

(Natural Resource Utilization and Conservation Policies, 1, p 133)

Concern: The Luck Stone quarry proposes to remove 100,000 gallons of water water daily from the water table, more than the communities of Winnsboro and Ridgeway together.  This will likely destroy rather than preserves recreation waters and wetlands as well as the water source for both towns and surrounding rural homesteads that rely on well water.  This is neither orderly nor responsible and contravenes the stated principal.

Principle: “Ensure that the development of land and water resources proceeds in a manner consistent with resource capabilities.”

(Natural Resource Utilization and Conservation Policies, 2, p 133)

Concern:  The capacity of water resources remains unproven and thus adherence cannot be measured..

Principle: “Protect water quality and water shed [watershed].”

(Natural Resource Utilization and Conservation Policies, 3, p 133)

Concern: The ongoing operations of Luck have the potential to severely lessen the quantity and quality of water in the watershed.  Mining and quarrying are primary causes of watershed deterioration. This deterioration will likely manifest itself in erosion, stream pollution, increased flooding, heavy sedimentation, and a diminished water table.

 Crystalline silica dust is a by- product of granite mining.  The New York Department of Health writes that prolonged inhalation of tiny bits of this silica can lead to development of silicosis, a serious lung disease for which there is no cure.  Damage to the lungs is permanent. Further, the National Toxicology Program, a division of the Centers for Disease Control, lists crystalline silica dust as a known carcinogen.

Even Luck Stone, in its Safety Data Sheet on granite writes:



May cause cancer by inhalation.

Causes damage to lungs, kidneys and autoimmune system through prolonged or repeated exposure in inhalation.

Causes severe skin burns and serious eye damage.

Those of us who live near this mine will inevitably have constant exposure to these cancer and silicosis causing pollutants.  Given all these facts, why would you approve Luck Stone’s quarry rather than adhere to the principles clearly stated in your 2021 Comprehensive Report?  Your failure to enforce these principles is a dereliction of duty that endangers our lives and health.  We implore you to respect the principles set forth in this document specifically designed to guide you.  We feel strongly that you owe this to your constituents – the taxpayers of Fairfield County who elected you.

 Eugenia and Robert Seibels



  1. Calvin Kennedy says

    I’m a proponent and a little bit confused about the Luck Stone Quarry issue? I’m getting on up in age, but my memory hasn’t failed me completely.
    Going back to my early years growing up in Fairfield County, I remember when the Pride of Fairfield was the Winnsboro Blue Granite! Back then, the old coal burning, black smoke, carbon emitting train from the quarry would actually hold up traffic crossing highway 34 in Rockton and nobody complained because that was a FINE thing. Wonder where the name ‘ROCK-ton’ came from??? Anyhow, all that happened long before all the current high-level government regulations on the environment came along. Still, everyone was so proud to have such a fine, notable commodity in their county. Seems without the environmental safety precautions being intact back then that keeps the air and water clean today, everybody and their ancestors seems to still be drinking water & breathing clean air? I think it also created a good little bit of pocket change for some folks in the county and maybe that made it OK!
    Apparently, the folks fussing about the dust & water usage today haven’t studied the proposed operation. Luck Stone will install a plant and have other practices that use water to spray for dust control to keep the air clean and it’s largely to be ‘recycled’ water from holding ponds that are made just like Ole Billy Bob’s fish pond, thus not sucking all that water out of the ground. As for the well water, it’s also in the regulations, that monitor wells are put in place so that folks have a record of groundwater levels. ‘IF’ any of the handful of neighbors believe there is an impact and their well has dropped, the company has to insure their ‘neighbors’ water by any means necessary (drill new wells or public utility if available, etc.). I wonder if all this was done way back when that marvelous blue granite mine was in operation.
    Speaking of dust, which is mitigated by wet suppression, berms, & landscaping, I wonder if everybody doing the fussing realizes where the rock goes or why they need it? That stone goes into concrete, asphalt, and base materials. Anybody fussing about the quarry ever fuss about concrete being mixed for highways, their home foundation footings, patios, driveways, etc.? Riding down the road past all those dusty concrete plants? Holy Mackerel!!! Concrete has ‘ROCK’ in it! Where in the world do the concrete manufacturers get that rock??? God forbid it be local making it cheaper (main cost is in the transportation distance for a customer) and allowing our County to get the taxes and employment! Should we be posing a worldwide ban on rock quarries, OR should we keep on wanting to build highways and buildings with concrete at the expense of the health of other’s elsewhere to protect our own and still reap the rewards, if it’s truly so bad?
    Oh Yeah! By the way, those asphalt roads everyone rides on have rock in them too. Next time anybody hears the choo-choo blow the horn, watch it go by on the track set on top of all them there rocks! Trains only carry fourteen to fifteen percent (14% – 15%) of total freight in this country, so we could shut the diesel burning, carbon emitting trains down that run through the county on those rails of steel manufactured in someone else’s carcinogens producing steel mills? But why would that bother us? There aren’t any steel mills here, so we’ll let someone else suffer that if it’s so bad and we can keep the choo-choo tracks regardless of the carbon stuff.
    Never heard all this fuss over the nuclear plant just across the way in Jenkinsville. Anybody heard about that Grenoble over there in Russia or that Fukushima in Japan? Well, we aren’t too worried about that because we have a Nuclear Regulatory Commission to keep something like that from happening. Woooooaaaa! Wait! We’ve got The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) to keep all that bad stuff everyone’s up in arms about with a rock quarry from happening! Holy mackerel! I’m confused again! Are we supposed to trust and have confidence in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and not DHEC or the EPA? I know I’m not a real smart person cause I was educated in South Carolina, but I think I’m smart enough to know I’d rather have an environmentally controlled rock quarry than a nuclear melt down!

  2. Pelham Lyles says

    Calvin, keep on believing that all progress is good progress. After all, your property around the proposed quarry site will benefit in that you can eventually sell it off for good money…since you apparently don’t use the property for anything now. A granite crushing operation will not add much in taxes, jobs, etc. to the county’s future. If DHEC rubber stamps this project, as it usually does, the opportunities are wasted to see the area around this main entryway to our two towns develop as friendly to the population, and not to the pockets of Luck Stone, INC. By the way, are you still living outside of the county?

  3. Calvin Kennedy says

    Last question first; YES I do live outside of the county. Why? As was & is with many others born or raised in Fairfield County, there has been VERY LITTLE economic growth in Fairfield County to provide opportunity for it’s citizens to stay & advance themselves. As for property use, it is still being used as has been for many, many years, just as other land owners in the surrounding area have been doing, recreation & growing trees. As for selling land, it can be bought! If anyone would wish to make an offer commensurate to what I consider it’s value, I’m sure it would be entertained. As for the quarry creating taxes, jobs, etc., if it pays a minimal amount in taxes & only employees a handful of local residents, it will be producing more that the high dollar land purchased by the county itself so far. As for the quarry stopping progress in the area, maybe you as well as other folks should visit the Martin Marietta quarry in Cayce. It looks to me like the cities of Cayce, Columbia & West Columbia & all other surrounding areas continue to grow & thrive! As for what goes in who’s pockets, how can we judge or begrudge Luck Stone OR ANYONE ELSE that makes a profit from stones when the fair citizens of Fairfield County themselves have pocketed many, many dollars from the stone industry???

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