Permits approved for mining operation
April 24th, 2019
By Michelle Duke, Kingstree News
After two years of meetings, protests and possible lawsuits, permits for a quarry mine near the Earles Community has been approved. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) notified residents of its decisions to permit a mine operating permit and an air permit for the RDA Mine by mail. The decision was effective March 25.
The letter stated in part, the decisions were made after consideration and complete review of the application permits, state and federal regulations and public comments. Both the County and the Coastal Conservation League have filed a formal Request for Review asking the DHEC board to reconsider the staff decision to permit the mine. Requests are required within 15 days of the permit decision.
RDA, LLC purchased 968.40 acres to locate the limestone quarry at Jump and Run Road and Seaboard Road, which is in Williamsburg County. American Materials Company, LLC, a subsidy of Summit Materials, will manage the actual quarry operation. Since July 2017, members of the community who opposed the mine met on a regular basis and held protests at times. Environmental giants such as Coastal Conservation League and South Carolina Wildlife Federation backed the group’s concerns.
In January 2018, The South Carolina Environmental Law Project wrote to DHEC and the Corps of Engineers on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League, the Wildlife Federation and other agencies requesting authorization be denied and processed as an individual permit.
In April 2017, Williamsburg County Council passed a symbolic vote opposing the quarry since the county has no zoning laws in place. Council was prepared to vote on third and final reading of an ordinance that imposes a six-month moratorium of the acceptance and processing of applications for building permits for structures to be used to benefit said operations but, according to Williamsburg County Council member Jonathan Miller, they tabled the vote while lawyers on both sides discuss the language of the document. Miller, who represents District 3 where the mine is proposed, said they knew the permits would be approved. “I knew it was just a matter of time before DHEC
The approved permits, maps and other information can be viewed at https://www.scdhec.gov/rda-mine-guarry