Williamsburg County Council opposes possible quarry, amidst community opposition

Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News

. - The Williamsburg County Council voted Monday evening to oppose a quarry from being mined in the Earles community.

Earles community members filled not only the county council chambers, but overflowed into the entryway and hallway to show their opposition.

The backlash over a potential quarry coming to the area comes after Clark Wooten, a sod farmer, purchased 946 acres of land in the Earles community with the intent to build a sod farm, according Earles community members, and changed his plan to put in a quarry.

"The rock quarry started off with a fella coming by saying they were interested in putting a turf farm in here," lifelong Earles resident Billy Brourton said.
"Instead of putting it in, they found limestone rock when they were drilling to see if they could get water for irrigation for the turf farm. [They] found limestone rock under the dirt, approximately 17 feet under the dirt, so they decided to change it from a sod farm to a limestone quarry."

Williamsburg County Council voted unanimously to oppose the limestone mining quarry, but the county supervisor said he didn't know what that meant for the project moving forward.

"I don't know what the legal ramifications are as far as what Council voted. Council voted to oppose the mining quarry in Williamsburg county,"Williamsburg County Supervisor Stanley Pasley said.

"There are no zoning laws. Williamsburg County is not zoned so the meaning of the vote is I'm not sure. It doesn't appear to me to be binding and that prevents the operation from going forward if it meets all the state requirements for environmental permits," said Clark Kennedy, the permitting contactor for the quarry project.

Brourton said the community has several concerns with a possible quarry coming to their neck of the woods, ranging from wells drying up, home foundations cracking from the blasting, the noise it could cause, dust, and having up to 100 trucks on the road every day.

"The whole community is in turmoil. They don't want to see a big change in the community. We have a nice quiet community and everybody gets along, and we don't' want to see a big industry come in."

A letter to Earles community members from Mr. Wooten reads, "Wherever we have opened a new business we are proud to say that we become part of the community and good neighbors."

Kennedy said he has met with many neighbors about the potential quarry and said they've designed this plan and operation to not impact people's wells and structures from blasting.

However, that doesn't have neighbors' minds at ease.

"We're going to fight the quarry, but we're going to fight the good fight and come out on top," Tim Askins said.

In Wooten's letter, it said they are working to obtain the required permits from DHEC and other environmental approval and permits.

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