Small step for state, major step for Limestone

This week, Governor Bob Riley signed four bills that could have a ripple effect on the quarry industry in Alabama.

Senators Tom Butler and Arthur Orr pushed local legislation that would limit where quarries can locate in Limestone County. The bills would limit quarries near schools, Calhoun Community College, a TVA industrial megasite, and TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. This has been a two year effort by the senators, citizens, and other local officials to stop a proposed quarry near Tanner, Ala.

Additionally, for the first time in six tries, a Conservation Alabama-drafted bill HB804 got out of committee. This bill would give local governments say-so on where and how quarries operate anywhere in Alabama. With only two legislative days left, this bill will not be adopted this year, but the committee approval is a step in the right direction.

Citizens have grown tired of their inability to have any control over what happens in their communities related to quarries. Increasingly, state elected officials are hearing citizens’ cries for help and are responding with legislative solutions. The quarry industry, the roadbuilder industry, and even some in the county commission association have opposed local control over the siting and operations of quarries. The Limestone County bills are a major victory for citizens in the county, and they provide hope for increasing citizen voices statewide as it relates to quarry operations.

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