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Home » Issue Areas » Lehigh and Quarrying » Newspaper Articles » 2004

Posted: Saturday, December 18, 2004 12:00 am

By Carrie Ann Knauer, Times Staff Writer

NEW WINDSOR - New Windsor- and Union Bridge-area residents have contacted a lawyer to help them prevent construction of a rock crusher large enough to crush 400 tons of stone an hour at a Lehigh Cement Co.-owned quarry in New Windsor.

Many residents who attended a meeting hosted by the Maryland Department of the Environment in Union Bridge Tuesday were upset to learn that Lehigh is planning to contract a stone-crushing operation at its New Windsor quarry to Lopke Quarries Inc.

"[The MDE] described some things that lit us up and made us realize we better do something quick," said George Maloney, chairman of the citizen watchdog group New Windsor Community Action Project.

NEWCAP members organized an emergency meeting in the New Windsor fire hall Friday night to unify community support to keep the stone crusher from being built.

Three dozen residents attended the meeting, wanting to know more about the stone crusher and how to stop it. Maloney said the Lopke representative at the Tuesday meeting had not given out any specifics on the size or model of the stone crusher. However, Maloney said he has experience installing large pieces of industrial equipment, including stone crushers. He brought photographs of several models with him to the meeting Friday.

New Windsor resident Terence Mahoney said he contacted Wally Brown, environmental manager at Lehigh in Union Bridge, to ask more about the plans for the stone crusher. Mahoney said he was especially interested in getting a map to see where Lehigh was planning to put the road for the estimated 50 to 100 trucks that would leave the quarry daily to ship the crushed rock to a Lehigh facility in York, Pa.

Mahoney said Brown would not discuss a specific location for the road.

Mahoney said he thought the company should be required to reveal where the road will be early in the permit process.

Residents at Friday's meeting said they were worried about noise and traffic being generated by the stone crushing operation, as well as how the dust generated by the facility would affect community health. Other residents said they were concerned that Lehigh was using an outside company to do this work, which would probably mean it would not employ locals. Several union members from Lehigh stated Tuesday also that they were concerned that Lehigh was not using its own workers to do this task.

Rather than focus on the individual objections to the stone crusher, Maloney said the Washington, D.C.-based lawyer he has contacted about the case has encouraged the group to fight the stone crusher on the basis that it was not a part of the company's current permit or part of the plans that the company last submitted to the MDE.

Maloney, who has been with NEWCAP since it was founded in 1987, said Lehigh has stated in its plans that it would not use the New Windsor quarry until 2015. At that time, the company had said it would use a mobile stone crusher that would break the rocks up just enough to get them onto rail cars to be taken by train to the Union Bridge plant to be fully crushed, Maloney said. The current plan does not involve a mobile crusher or trucking partially crushed stone for processing elsewhere.

Tuesday's informational hearing was the first step in an MDE permit public review process. MDE officials told Union Bridge resident Frank Maxwell that a public hearing should be scheduled for the stone crusher in January.

In the meantime, NEWCAP is planning to circulate a petition through the community opposing the stone crusher, and wants to recruit more people to write letters to local elected officials to gain support against the stone crusher. NEWCAP is also looking to collect donations for lawyer fees, Maloney said.

For more information or to get involved with NEWCAP, call George Maloney at 410-635-2584.

Reach staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer at 410-857-7874 or