With people holding signs reading “Lafarge chooses profit over people” and “save our homes” it can only mean one thing. The city of Sugar Creek is discussing Lafarge North America and future mining operations.

With people holding signs reading “Lafarge chooses profit over people” and “save our homes” it can only mean one thing. The city of Sugar Creek is discussing Lafarge North America and future mining operations.
 Protesters on Monday were picketing outside city hall prior to the Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen meeting.
The board held a “new evidence hearing” where they heard from Jim Thompson, a leader of a neighborhood group formed last year to fight Lafarge from future mining of land where the neighborhood rests.
The group is called Cedar Crest, Swearingen, Farview Concerned Citizens, an organization representing 1,400 homes, three churches, an elementary school and a mental health facility.
Lafarge wants the 88 acres, which Sugar Creek incorporated two years ago, because it’s rich in Bethany Falls limestone. Last year, they submitted a rezoning request that would have led to a second request for a special use permit for the company to mine the land. However, last December the city’s planning and zoning commission rejected the rezoning request.
Now, the board of aldermen will decide on whether to go with the commission’s decision or reject it and approve the request.
The board made no decision at Monday’s meeting.
Thompson outlined in an 8-minute speech multiple “new evidence” he has collected since the December planning and zoning meeting.
Thompson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and civil engineering and a master’s degree in civil engineering and is a practicing engineer, explained several allegations against Lafarge.
He first disputed what a Lafarge advisor, who has decades of experience in the mining and construction industries, said at a planning and zoning meeting last year. Thompson said the advisor knew of no studies concerning human tolerance limits for blast vibrations felt by homeowners near the explosion sites.
“I find that somewhat surprising,” Thompson said.
Reviewing data, he found an investigation by the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Mines that said “tolerance and reactions” of humans to vibration are important when standards are based on “annoyance, interference or proficiency in health,” said Thompson, quoting the study.
Also, he said the study pointed out that humans “notice and react to blast-produced vibrations” at levels lower than damage threshold, Thompson said.
He said the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued nine violations against Lafarge’s Kentucky Road operation since March. Some of the violations include storage of combustible liquids underground and roadway maintenance, Thompson said.
On Oct. 7, Lafarge was issued a citation for emissions excess, beyond limits allowed by government regulations, of particle matter (dust) found in the air. The dust was found on east Kentucky Road beyond the boundary of Lafarge’s quarry.
Excessive dust, neighbors have said, is causing health problems and a major problem in their standard of living.
Lafarge resumed mining beneath the Winterstone Golf Course on March 16. On the very first day, vibration readings were in excess of the maximum allowable that Lafarge had agreed upon, Thompson said. And vibrations from blasts in days after that were also in excess. Thompson has the data to prove the sound was over the limit by recording semiographic data.
This, Thompson said, shows Lafarge’s “continued lack of concern” for the citizens living near the blasting area.
As of June 17, there were 11 violations recorded during the 27 days of blasting. No violations have been recorded since that date but Thompson said that’s because no blasting has happened in the northeast quadrant of the mine since then.
Thompson reiterated the concern of the Cedar Crest, Swearingen, Farview Concerned Citizens, saying that any additional blasting would have a detrimental effect on the health, safety and welfare of the surrounding community.
Representatives from Lafarge did not present any new evidence.