Here we go again. Many McDuffie County residents are, yet again, going to be confronted with a battle to maintain their property values and standard of living as Imerys mining is making yet another application to the Planning Board, July 7th and the Board of Commissioners July 21st, both at 6:30 p.m. in the Government Center to mine at Luckey’s Bridge, Wellmaker, and Boneville Roads. Those of us who were at the meeting on September 19, 2019, saw the Planning Board reject their application and the mine company pull the scheduled Commissioners meeting.
This time, they are back with a high power, probably high dollar attorney from Atlanta to show us little people in McDuffie County that the zoning laws which have been in effect since 1999 and have served the citizens of this county for 21 years are lacking. If our current zoning laws are used to deny this mine application, then they will claim their constitutional rights have been violated. Who knew???
The actual goal as I see it, is to break our existing zoning laws and codes to establish what is called in the law, “legal precedent.” This means if legal precedent is established and they want to apply for mining in other parcels, and believe me there are lots of parcels currently owned by mines, by using the same facts, the approval action is automatically granted.
In 2011-2012 when we fought the original mining application for the Wisham property, I was relatively new to McDuffie County, but did realize that I did not want a mine setting one mile from my driveway, so I got involved. With much work and a “standing room only attendance” at the Commissioners meeting, the application was denied. The vote was as follows; Reverend Fred Favors, Mr. Sammie Wilson, and Mr. Paul McCorkle all voted No immediately. Mr. Bill Jopling’s response was that he planned to vote Yes, but because so many of his constituents were there, he would vote No, also.
We now have a new Commissioner in place. Mrs. Gloria Thompson won her election against Paul McCorkle in 2016 and campaigned on and mailed out letters stating her opposition to the kaolin mines. Many of us saved those letters and I can now give some of the quotes verbatim. These are direct quotes from her letter of campaign promises;” I DO NOT support any project that would diminish the quality of lie or property values of any resident.” Next quote, “I WOULD NEVER support any project that would hurt the very people I represent even if they were not aware of any detrimental results to their property, health, or standard of living.” Last quote: “I AM 100% AGAINST ANY MINING IN YOUR AREA NOW OR IN THE FUTURE!!”
As I stated before, the mine will claim their Constitutional right have been violated if this is not passed. This does sound a bit like intimidation to me, but what about the Constitutional Rights of the hundreds of current property holders who will be adversely impacted with destroyed property values and kaolin dust which is slick as grease when wet, on their roads.
We the affected citizens of McDuffie County, who will suffer from these mining operations ask this application be denied.