Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for the ‘Mining’ Category

If You Are Not Part of the Solution, You Are Part of the Problem

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Today is Earth Day. We have been celebrating this day for 41 years now.  On first Earth Day I was a student at BGSU.  My first  memory of that day isn’t much different from many spring days on campus-kite flying, sidewalk chalk art, boys playing guitars and girls with long flowing hair listening to folk songs.  There were impromptu debates on how our earth would not survive if we continued our dependence on oil and gas.  Chemically altered food would poison us and our children. Our streams and rivers would die with fish and wildlife gasping for breath.  Nuclear power was coming to a town near you and would be the death of us all. In fact, the peace sign so familiar to us all, began its career as an anti-nuclear power symbol which soon encompassed “no war” as well.   It sounds like those discussions were dark, bleak,  and desperate.

Not so, many of my college friends had plans for the solutions to all of the dire situations that could be our future.  All they had to do was graduate, have their degree, and change the world.  Many changes in our world did come to pass.  Two of the biggest  was the 1970 Clean Air Act and the 1972 Clean Water Act.  An act spurred in part by our own “crooked river, the Cuyahoga catching fire, not once but twice because of chemical sludge from the refineries and industries along its bank.  Today, a towpath trail is being designed to wind along that same river.  Fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles have returned to its banks, and when the spring air warms, sculls will again be seen skimming across its surface.

Meanwhile, our state and federal legislators are preparing to gut our laws that insure clean air and water to our citizens.  At the same time, they are considering opening our system of state parks to drilling and “fracking” for oil and gas. Fracking, a term so new that I had to add it to my dictionary. Surface mining in Old Brooklyn was recently held off by a group of determined citizens, their councilman, and the City Planning Commission.  soon, we will be protesting the largest “trash to energy” incinerator in the nation using unproven techniques  with no assurance that the technology is safe for humans within the confines of Cleveland at the Ridge Road transfer station.    

There are those who would tell you that we cannot compete if we do not relax the laws put in place 40 years ago or if we do not embrace unproven technology to pay for energy. These same people rely on our memories being short.  Now, that we can see across the river and the smokestacks are mostly silent, they believe that they can eliminate  the laws that allow us to breathe easier and make us safe from chemical poisoning.

I would say this to all of you. Now, is not the time to relax laws to  make it easier to use the same old fossil fuels and chemicals that continue to pollute our air, but rather it is the time for Cleveland to innovate the new technologies that will carry us into the 22nd century just like those who came before us made us an industrial powerhouse in the 20th century.  We should be on the cutting edge of the new technologies needed for energy that does not pollute our environment. Yes, this may be expensive in the short term, but will be well worth the benefits overall.  Consider the alternative of cheaper in the short term, but more expensive in the long term with more health costs, less quality of life, and cheaper for whom the consumer or for the owners of the corporations getting the breaks.  Take a look at your latest utility bill.  You are conserving all that you can, and still the bills are rising.  Our dependence on gasoline is increasing due to less mass transit and the price just keeps on rising. Taxes, fees continue to rise while corporations continue to say that they cannot afford to do business in Ohio.  Really, who says so?  

Forty one years later, the phrase :If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem is just as true today as it was then.  Do not let fear guide you. Stand up and tell your legislature that now is the time for new ideas and new solutions. It is not the time to prop up corporations that are dinosaurs which will only die a slower death if they are allowed to gut the clean air and water laws.  Get out, take a walk, drink the fresh air, contemplate the wonders of the earth, and  know that you can preserve them for future generations. Use your vote.

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 22nd, 2011 at 10:18 am

Eight Days and Counting. . .

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until March 31, 2010 when the time for public comment is closed on Mineral Mining Permit Application #10428 which would allow strip mining for sand and clay  between Sky Lane and Bradley Road.

Here is the letter I sent to the Chief of Mineral Resources at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  Feel free to use it in its entirity adding your own concerns, use parts of it our write you own letter.  Just WRITE!

March 22, 2010

Chief John Husted

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Division of Mineral Resources Management

2045 Morse Road, Building H3

Columbus, OH 43229-6693

Dear Mr. Husted:

I object to the application #10428 Request for Mineral Mining between Sky Lane and Bradley Road in the City of Cleveland. My reasons include but are not limited to the following:

Effect of Strip Mining on Neighborhood: How will the strip mining affect residents of Sky Lane and Bradley Roads? How much noise, dust and traffic will be created? Can the infrastructure handle the strain of heavy machinery and trucks? What impact will this have on property values and even the ability to sell at all? How far into the neighborhood will this effect reach?
Effect on Watershed: Will the ecosystems of two creeks be compromised?  What will ensure that they are not?   What is the Ohio EPA’s position on covering over streams?

Effect on Air Quality: What particulate matter will be added to the atmosphere?

Effect on Community: Will this set a precedent for other vacant land within the city limits of Cleveland? What rights do the City of Cleveland and its citizens have in such a matter?

Need for Transparency: What is Ty Inc. and what assurance do we have that the corporation has the expertise to take on this undertaking? Who will the partners be in this operation? How will the public be assured that they will not be burdened with a failed enterprise? What will the transparency of such a major undertaking be? Will all contracts be approved in the light of day? What assurances will the public have that the corporation and partners are financially able to underwrite the endeavor?

I request a public hearing to be held so that the residential neighbors in this area as well as their fellow Clevelanders can ask questions and speak to the impact the awarding of a 15 year permit for mineral mining would have on our city and the community of Old Brooklyn.

Sincerely,

Today’s Cleveland City Council Meeting is of major importance for those community members who are lobbying for pedestrian and bicicyle access on the planned Innerbelt bridge. Rally at 6:30 on steps of City Hall.

During the City Council Meeting which starts a 7 pm Councilman Brancatelli will be introducing a  formal objection to introucing mineral mining with Old Brooklyn.

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 22nd, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Is Applying for Mineral Mining Rights within the City Limits of Cleveland Newsworthy?

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It would probably depend on your viewpoint.  I would say that the residents on Sky Lane and near Bradley Road would be very interested in Mineral Mining Permit #10428.  The public notice for this application was placed in the Plain Dealer beginning in February.  I went on line to www.Cleveland.com to find one of the public notices by scanning the classifieds but gave it up as a futile endeavor.  The public notices are included with the classifieds and not searchable as far as I could tell.

I decided to call the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to ask for a copy of the permit application.  The very helpful state employee told me that the original application could have been revised several times so that the one he had available to send might not have up-to-the-minute information. He said he would answer my questions if he could.

Who applied for the permit?   Ty Inc. out of Independence Ohio

Where were the public notices advertised? They advertised in the Plain Dealer that they would be mining for sand and clay.

He suggested that he tell me what they planned to do.  They will be using heavy equipment to extract the sand and clay.  This will be open pit mining .  In an open pit mining situation,the site must be reclaimed.  They plan to use the soil and restore the site to a condition as close to original as possible.

 What is the time frame? It is a fifteen year permit.

How do they plan to reclaim the site?  It will be an open, vegetative site with a big pond.  He told me it actually would be a water impoundment feature.  He began to explain what water impoundment is. I asked him if it was like  water impoundment used when strip mining for coal.  The answer was: yes.  He then went on to tell me that the contouring  would be a 3/1slope and rolled erosion webbing around the water impoundment would be used. 

How large of an area are we talking about?  He said well, it is pretty large.  8 and 1/2 acres.  They intend to mine 30,000 tons of clay and soil and expect to reach gray silt at 12 ft with an ending depth of 24 feet  with the average being 20 feet.  The area is along Sky Lane and Bradley Road.

The last thing he told me is VERY IMPORTANTThe DEADLINE for public comment is March 31st. Here is the address to send letters with questions, concerns, and a request for a public hearing to:

Chief John Husted
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Division of Mineral Resources Management
2045 Morse Road,  Building H3
Columbus, OH 43229-6693

So here are some questions :

How will the strip mining effect residents of Sky Lane and Bradley Roads?
Will the ecosystems of two creeks be compromised?  What will ensure that they are not? 
What particulate matter will be added to the atmosphere?
What will be the effect on the water table and the watershed?
If this permit is granted, will this set a precedent for other vacant land within the city limits of Cleveland?What is the assurance that Ty inc. has the expertise for such an undertaking?

Is the EPA involved in the vetting of this application? Where and when do they step in?

What rights does the city of Cleveland and its citizens have in such a matter?

I talked to Councilman Brancatelli who has objected to the application. Monday, March 22 Councilman Brancatelli will formally oppose this application at the City Council meeting so that the City Law Department can take the objection forward.  Councilman Brancatelli has also requested a public hearing but does not know when and where it will be held  yet.

I do know from my talk with the state employee that a public hearing is usually held within two weeks after the deadline date.  In this case, March 31.  he said that the downside to a public meeting is that sometimes not all people are able to speak because of time constraints.  He said that letters of objection sent until March 31will be considered and that these letters should be sent.  he said the best way to be heard is to write a letter with concerns  and request a public hearing so that a lot of questions can be answered beforehand and included in information at the public hearing.

There are two things we can do:

1. WRITE a letter of Objection that requests a public hearing to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources 
2. ATTEND Monday’s City Council meeting and support Councilman Brancatelli.

Is this newsworthy? I believe it is.  Every resident of the city of Cleveland and beyond should  know about this mineral mining rights application that would approve mining within city limits. But how will they know?  I  am pushing this information out to as many people as possible.  If you agree, take the time to write a letter requesting a public hearing. Send the information to others who you think will want to support Councilman Brancatelli’s efforts. Find out as much as you can about this latest assault on the residents of Sky Lane and Cleveland.   

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 19th, 2010 at 7:56 pm