Say no to private quarries on public lands

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We are on the verge of something rather historic here in our great state. Plans to install the first privately owned stone quarry on public land is underway.

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh has teamed up with Wake Stone to “lease” land that will be quarried and sold to private interests. A lawsuit heading to court in September seeks to block this lease, which, according to N.C. general statutes is not a legal lease.

I am urging citizens across the state to think about the precedent this mine could set. Think about your public lands and having them handed over to private interests. Is this what we want to see across our mountains and shared park lands? This land in question shares a border with our beloved Umstead State Park. This is your state’s most-visited state park.

The land also shares a border with the East Coast Greenway trail — a public utility that all are free to enjoy. If this mine goes in, we will see this area exposed to surface-level blasting, deforestation, potential flyrock impacts, heavy dust damage and logging trucks sharing the East Coast Greenway with moms pushing baby strollers.

I’ve spent the last five months working on a documentary film regarding this topic and the final screening is in Raleigh on Aug. 25.. At the second sold-out screening of this film, on Aug. 11 at the Cary Theatre, three executives from Wake Stone sat in the audience and were witnessed recording the majority of my movie on their cellphones. This unauthorized and brazen flouting of the rules typifies the prevailing attitude that the quarry industry operates with: We can get away with anything.

Your local and state-level officials need to know that North Carolinians aren’t interested in private quarries on public lands next to our state parks. I encourage people to really do their homework on the ramifications of this at www.stoprduquarry.com where you can see a short explainer video and learn more.

Charlie Morris