The West Virginia Department of the Environment (DEP) will hold a public meeting on October 10 from 3 pm to 7 pm at the Moose Lodge in Berkeley Springs to hear citizen concerns about US Silica’s proposal to move their blasting operations closer to town.
“I’m concerned about the impact extraction and blasting this close to town will have on the springs,” said local resident Rebecca MacLeod. “Economic development money has been invested in the depot and the trail, just across the proposed blasting site. Citizens should attend this meeting to express their concerns. We want Silica to explain risk protection for the town. What kind of safeguards will the community have?”
The DEP said that they have scheduled an “informal conference from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday October 10, 2017, in the Moose Lodge, located at 593 N Washington Street in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.”
“The purpose of the conference is to allow comments from those people having an interest which is or may be adversely affected by the proposed U.S. Silica Company modification,” the DEP said.
After the informal conference, the director of the DEP then has 30 days to make a decision on the application.
That decision may then be appealed to the DEP’s Quarry Board.
Earlier this year, the Warm Springs Watershed Association issued a statement saying it was “concerned that southward expansion of mining and quarry activities associated with extraction of sandstone poses a threat to the hydrogeologic setting of the aquifer.”
“US Silica has not provided evidence the recharge area for the aquifer will not be reduced, nor have they demonstrated that the pathways the groundwater flows to the surface will not be interrupted from deep pit excavation and blasting within the designated source water protection area,” the Watershed Association said in its statement.