The lease agreement for mining at Rockhill Quarry has been terminated.
The decision to terminate the lease has been agreed to by the owner Hanson Aggregates and R.E. Pierson Materials, the contract operator for the property. Hanson has also requested an extension to respond to comments requested by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Mining operations have been temporarily halted since late 2018 when DEP confirmed positive tests of naturally occurring asbestos at the quarry.
“The testing for asbestos at the Rockhill Quarry is a major concern with the residents of East Rockhill Township,” Katie Zackon of Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance (REPA) said.
“REPA requests that PADEP does not accept the extension, and requires Hanson to respond to PADEP’s comments as scheduled ... REPA continues to request that PADEP require that all operations at the Rockhill Quarry permanently cease.”
State Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-01) both issued statements April 3, the day the decision was announced, confirming their commitment to making certain the quarry does not re-open.
Santarsiero (D-10) said he would work closely with DEP to keep informed of any requests to transfer the permits or begin a new contract.
“The termination of Pierson’s lease to mine at the quarry is a tremendous victory for the residents of East Rockhill Township, fighting to protect the health and safety of everyone in the community,” Santarsiero said.
“While we know that there is a strong possibility that Hanson will pursue further testing and will try to resume activities at the quarry at some point in the future, the lack of an active operator at Rockhill Quarry is a huge step in the right direction.
“I will continue to work with REPA, the township and our state and federal officials to prohibit mining, crushing and asphalt activities at the site. The presence of asbestos at the quarry makes those activities inherently dangerous no matter who operates there.”
Fitzpatrick said the asbestos issue at East Rockhill has remained one of his top priories since entering Congress.
“I am thrilled to hear that Hanson and R.E. Pierson Materials have agreed to terminate the lease of the Rockhill Quarry property and operation, but our work is far from over,” Fitzpatrick said. Going forward, we must work to ensure that our children and the surrounding environment will be safe from the dangers of asbestos and ensure the current and future mining permits are negated.
“I remain insistent on having the EPA conduct a rigorous independent geologic investigation to see the full impact mining would have within East Rockhill.
“This is a huge victory for the children and families in our community. Katie Zackon, REPA, and the entire Rockhill community have showed us what individuals and communities are capable of doing when we band together in solidarity behind a cause that is just and right.”