Without our local paper, we citizens would experience tyranny by default. The Sept. 26 classified section of the Tooele Transcript Bulletin had a public notice posted by the Utah Division of Air Quality soliciting public input before approving its impact air analysis for Sharkol Inc., a Stansbury gravel operator that will produce up to 500,000 tons of aggregate per year. This is additional product to what is currently being extracted by five pits already in this location.
Generally, my concern has remained on air quality since I have observed that with present extraction operations no watering is being done to mitigate dust. But no mind to that! The county doesn’t have the water anyway to dump on this problem. Now my focus is on another concern that actually has a death count. Increasing TRAFFIC! To illustrate with approximation the impact on our already inadequate Tooele Valley road system from this newest gravel operation: 500,000 product tons per year divided by 50 working weeks per year equals 10,000 tons per week moved by 35-ton-capacity haulage trucks with pups, or about 57 more heavy trucks (with trailers) per day on our Tooele Valley road systems. (The assumptions have included 10-minute daily loadings every day except Sunday.) A commuter road overload argument should be in any approved calculation by both county and state representatives, all of whom have been long on promises and short on delivery.
The assumption is that the newest gravel being produced at Stansbury goes to Salt Lake City destinations. However, it was stated in the Public Notice that this new product will be for “local construction,” which connotes Tooele Valley only. The SR-36/Droubay Road traffic will go in both north and south directions. There may be few valley roads without impact. It is difficult to imagine that the already operational 15-plus county gravel pits are insufficient for this current gravel need. This permit appears being issued and approved by Tooele County without public notice being given to its citizenry? Is the county so loaded with real estate people and developers that this influence and voice is the only validation required by our elected officials? The burden of growth falls on many and in different ways. Why disenfranchise voters?
The Air Quality report remains in Salt Lake City and is open for a 30-day comment period. “Under Section 19-1-301.5, a person who wishes to challenge a Permit Order may only issue an argument during an adjudicatory proceeding that was raised during the public comment period.” If you want to breathe life into this report, now is the time. The report that currently resides in Salt Lake City most probably is inadequate for addressing the total environmental impact of this newest extraction pit. The dated report needs revisiting all related sources impacting local air quality. All bodies of governance, including municipalities, need to cooperate in ensuring public disclosure of potential life-threatening activities. We are dying to know if we are safe.