LETTER: Gravel Pit, Wind and Name Calling
A proposed gravel pit in the area of C.R. 140 (designated bike route) and C.R. 250 (on the road to the trailhead to Mt. Shavano and also a designated bike route) has resulted in letters (against and in favor) to our local newspaper and to the office of the county commissioners. The same applicant encountered similar opposition in 2010, who subsequently withdrew due to that opposition. Now they come back with a proposal that is three times larger.
Letters against this gravel pit name the different reasons for such opposition: health hazards for humans and animals as a consequence of the dust produced by surface mining operations, deterioration of the chip seal county roads which were not built to sustain a constant traffic of heavy trucks, previously designated bike routes which will be affected by constant heavy traffic, contradiction of a gravel pit next to a conservation easement of 1,000 acres, estimated life of 30 years of this proposed gravel pit, etc. Letters in favor, name other reasons: gravel pit cannot be seen from the outside, opposition more interested in aesthetics than the economic benefits, private ownership can do whatever it wants with its property, etc.
The previous paragraph mentions the dust. I am aware of the wind in our valley and I have come to terms with it, but the data on wind patterns show, that sometimes, our valley receives winds of 45/56 mph. It does not take much to conclude how the mining operation would affect, not only the adjacent area to the gravel pit but also the wider surrounding area.
Lastly, respect for freedom of speech is essential but at the same time, respect is required and several letters to the editor and county commissioners state these protesters are a “bunch of whiny wealthy people”, “pathetically selfish”, among other derogatory definitions. These protesters are people who have invested money and efforts in this area (by contracting local companies for the construction of their homes, by purchasing goods at local stores, by dining in local restaurants, by voting in the local elections, by attending local events and more important, by volunteering in many local organizations. These “hypocrites”, with their supposed mansions, maids and pool boys contribute to this county on a daily basis. These are your neighbors and they are emotionally and economically invested in this beautiful valley.
Luz Stella Diaz-Porter