Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Botetourt County residents hope to keep out mining company

May 28, 2007

County Administrator Jerry Burgess says General Shale, hasn't made a formal proposal on the land yet

Citizens in Botetourt County are banding together to keep out a new neighbor.

General Shale Incorporated met with several people in Eagle Rock about the possibility of mining east of Dudley Stretch on Route 220.

It's a green, lush ridge high above Eagle Rock now.

But residents are worried if a mining operation comes to northern Botetourt County, it won't be green or lush for long.

Raymond Hundley and his family have lived in the Big Hill section of Eagle Rock since the early 1950s.

Their property sits right next to the more than 400 acres General Shale is looking at mining.

Hundley says he did some research and found that people within a mile away could be affected through dust, noise and traffic. The Hundleys say General Shale plans on bringing 50 trucks off the mountain everyday.

"That would be a truck every six minutes by this house," says Raymond's son Ridge. "Not to mention driving the whole length of country from Blue Ridge to here."

There are also environmental concerns. The site is near three separate waterways, including Sinking Creek from which the Hundleys routinely drink. There is also a nearby wetland area.

County Administrator Jerry Burgess says General Shale, which currently operates a mine in Blue Ridge, hasn't made a formal proposal on the land yet.

It would have to go through the planning commission and apply for a special permit to re-zone the land.

But, the Hundleys and the newly formed group Friends of Anthony Mountain say they want to be prepared for the worse case scenario.

We placed a call to General Shale for comment late Thursday afternoon. The company has not yet responded.

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