Monday, June 3, 2013

Charlestown Democrats decry expansion of controversial Copar quarry into Charlestown

We demand protections for residents 

(Charlestown) The controversial Connecticut-based Copar Quarry has taken over operation of the Morrone sand and gravel site on Route 91 in Charlestown. The Charlestown Democratic Town Committee (CDTC) opposes this expansion of the controversial Copar quarry into Charlestown.

The CDTC has called upon Charlestown’s town government to strictly enforce existing Charlestown laws to protect Charlestown residents from Copar’s operations. For example, the CDTC noted that Copar did not obtain a business license to operate in the town when it took over operations in March.

Further, the CDTC noted that Charlestown needs to review its ordinances to determine whether there are adequate protections on the books to protect residents not just from Copar but from other quarrying and sand and gravel operations. A search of Charlestown’s Code of Ordinances shows almost no regulation of these sites, other than to prohibit swimming in abandoned quarries.

“After the terrible experiences residents of Bradford and Charlestown have had with Copar’s operation in Westerly, you would think Charlestown would be better prepared,” said CDTC Chair Cathy Collette. “For months, CDTC members have been helping the group fighting Copar in Bradford, the Concerned Citizens of Bradford-Charlestown, but Copar’s expansion into Charlestown has significantly raised the stakes.”

Residents have accused the Copar quarry in Bradford of air and water pollution, blasting damage to foundations, chimneys and water well casings, excessive noise, and a dangerous increase in heavy truck traffic. Copar has been cited for violations by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration, federal EPA, state DEM and the Town of Westerly.

Here is the full text of the CDTC Resolution:

The Charlestown Democratic Town Committee (CDTC) condemns the repeated and ongoing practices of the Copar Quarry in Westerly that have harmed people and property in both Bradford and Charlestown; we stand in solidarity with Concerned Citizens of Bradford-Charlestown.
The CDTC opposes Copar’s expansion of its activities into Charlestown through its operation of the Morrone quarry site on Route 91 and through the acquisition or operation of any other property in Charlestown. Given that their Charlestown operation did not even have the required business license, we have no reason to expect that Copar will obey town ordinances at any new site it operates in Charlestown.

The CDTC calls upon the Town Officials of Charlestown to immediately and strictly enforce Charlestown’s laws on Copar and ensure that our town ordinances provide the oversight and protection that neighbors of quarry operations would expect.