TDEC Hearing Video

Please see below video of one of the presenters at the November 18th TDEC Hearing in Calhoun. You can find complete video of the hearing on YouTube under search of "Calhoun TDEC Hearing".

The speaker in this video is Nathan Melton - his presentation challenged the very right of the developers to proceed with the quarry based on their use of an old Army Corps of Engineers manual for a wetlands study done on the site.

TDEC Hearing Exposes Quarry Developer's Miscues

Over 150 people showed up at the Calhoun Elementary School on Thursday night, November 18 to show their opposition to the proposed rock quarry.

15 speakers presented the case to TDEC that Avenrock/East Tennessee Materials/Calhoun Materials (pick any of the above names for this group; we're not sure they know their true name) has consistently shown a lack of attention to detail in their preparation to open a quarry off Bowater Road.

-Nathan Melton accurately pointed to the fact that the developers used an outdated Army Corps of Engineers manual (1987 manual) to perform a wetlands study of the quarry site. There is a supplement to this manual put in place in July 2010 specifically for the Piedmont and Eastern Mountain Region which includes Tennessee. I'm sure the developers are not aware of this supplemental manual. Nathan rightly requested that TDEC cease the permitting process until another study can be performed using up to date information.

In addition, this group performed this wetlands study in September of 2008 during one of the worst droughts in 100 years. These drought conditions began in 2006, but were not referenced in the study. Finally, Nathan pointed to the fact that the study was contracted by an unknown parent company of the quarry developers and according to EPA regulations, material submitted by an applicant should have complete transparency - listing an unknown parent company does not exactly meet a standard of transparency.

-Sharon Melton pointed to numerous inaccuracies and an overall lack of attention to detail in the developers TDEC Application. Do we really want a group running a quarry in Calhoun when they can't complete basic functions of the application process?

-Brenda Gossett asked TDEC if TVA at one point owned this property and still maintains certain deed restrictions on the site, does this fact trigger a NEPA study? Along the same lines, if Bowater also maintains deed restrictions, are they willing to deny this quarry use on the site?

-Lena Beth Carmichael, who is with the UT Extension office in Athens, brought to light the fact that her office has been working on cleaning up the Oostanaula Creek for the last few years and to now have a quarry pollute that creek would wipe out all the progress they have made.

Future of Quarry Called Into Question

Tax-Payer Funded Driveway Denied

The Citizens Against the McMinn Co. Quarry recently learned the quarry developers have applied for state and local tax-dollars to be used for a private driveway to connect their quarry to Bowater Road. In this application they suggest purchasing all the right-of-way property, engineering, environmental studies will be paid for by TDOT (the state) and the locality (Calhoun).

But according to a recent email inquiry by one of our group leaders, it appears the developers will not, in fact, receive a permit from TDOT.

The developers were applying for TDOT's State Industrial Access (SIA) program, which is designed for industrial parks, manufacturing centers, and multiple industrial uses. It was not intended for rock quarries. This explains why Avenrock (formerly East Tennessee Materials) has added "ready mix concrete" and "brick manufacturing" to their application - they were hoping to "manufacture" something to skirt around the intention of the state and locally funded grant program. Luckily for us, TDOT officials were able to see thru this ruse.

We believe that without this road, the quarry developers will not be able to safely develop this quarry.

(One other note - Mr. Sutherland states the city of Calhoun would actually be the applicant even though Mayor Gary Barham claims Calhoun has no control over the quarry.)

See below email exchange between one of our committee members and Chester Sutherland of TDOT:


Mr. Sutherland has responded to you inquiry.


Eddie Jackson TDOT Legal

>>> Chester Sutherland 10/7/2010 9:21 PM >>>

My responses are below in blue.

Is the application complete? Yes, this is how it was submitted. Had this project actually moved further into consideration additional data would have been completed.

There was no Certified Resolution accompanying the application. Has this not been addressed by the local government? No, at this stage it is not necessary.

The TDEC application drawings show the proposed industrial highway intersecting the Bowater Road at a different location. Which is correct? The yellow dashed line would be the requested roadway.

The TDEC application lists East Tennessee Materials as the applicant and the SIA application lists Avenrock Materials as the applicant. Which is correct? Avenrock Industries would be the industry served. The City of Calhoun would actually be the applicant.

Was a field review performed? Yes If so, by whom? The initial field review consisted of Chester Sutherland TDOT, Chuck Hammond SETDD, Jack Hammondtree McMinn County representative and two other gentlemen with a development company, I will have to check and get their names.

What are the remaining steps needed for East Tennessee Materials (Avenrock) to obtain approval? The industry as described in the application is a quarry and this type of industry does not qualify for the SIA program.

Thank you,

Chester Sutherland
Project Management Division
Region II, Chattanooga
office: 423-510-1229
fax: 423-855-8653

More Fuzzy Math

The Citizens Against the McMinn Co. Quarry met last Thursday and one of our members pointed out some extreme inconsistencies between the quarry developers' TDEC Application (NPDES) and their TDOT Application (to receive a TAXPAYER-funded driveway from their quarry to Bowater Road/Hwy. 163).

Both TDEC and TDOT may wonder if these are, in fact, applications for the same quarry. The responses are so different that we are not sure which numbers to follow.

The inconsistencies here show a lack of attention to detail at best (not ideal when you are talking about blasting out 1,500,000 tons of rock from the side of a mountain every year) and, at worst, an attempt to deceive the citizens of Calhoun and McMinn County as to how many jobs will be produced and hide from residents the truth about just how many trucks are going to travel up and down Bowater Road every day.

Here are the highlighted discrepancies:

1. Let's start with Applicant/Developer's name/entity

TDEC - listed as East TN Materials, LLC (p. 1 and 3) and Calhoun Materials (p. 47)

TDOT - listed as Avenrock Materials (p. 13)

In addition, Tim Townhill, who is listed as the Managing Member in the TDEC Application, is also an Executive Vice President, Business Development of a company called VantaCore (see below link; Townhill's name is listed in last paragraph).

Finally, Scott Alexander who is a partner of Tim Townhill's in East TN Materials/Avenrock is current President and CEO of Johnson Construction Materials in Indianapolis.

Who are we supposed to contact if we have an issue with the quarry? God-forbid someone has an accident or there is flooding in the quarry, etc. or people's foundation's are cracked and need help from the quarry? We're not sure who we are supposed to call.

2. Truck Traffic

Our committee estimated 264 trucks per day based on the TDEC application's estimate of the amount of rock quarried out of the site; developers didn't dispute our numbers at the Calhoun City Commission Meeting on Sep. 13, 2010.

TDOT - It's no wonder the developers didn't dispute our estimates because in their application for the SIA program under TDOT, the developers estimated 375 trucks per year (p. 13)

With the heavy logging traffic on Bowater Road (Hwy. 163) already coming from the Bowater plant, adding 375 trucks per day to this winding, hilly stretch of highway is a safety nightmare and a disaster waiting to happen. There have been numerous accidents and traffic fatalities on this stretch of road in recent years. We cannot imagine that TDOT will authorize the quarry to operate using Bowater Road.

3. Employment

TDEC - 10 (p. 24)

McMinn Co. Commission Meeting 8/16/2010 - 20 (Daily Post Athenian Article 8/17/2010)

Calhoun City Commission Meeting 9/13/2010 - 10-15 initially; 60 permanent jobs

TDOT - 25 initially; 50 in Year 5 (p. 13)

Ironic that the employment number continues to increase as opposition in the community continues to grow.

4. Tonnage of Rock Quarried Annually

TDEC - 1,250,000 tons per year (p. 25)

TDOT - 1,500,000 tons per year (Project Overview after p. 18)

Calhoun City Commission Meeting 9/13/2010 - 600,000 tons per year

During the Calhoun City Commission meeting on Sep. 13, 2010, Scott Alexander of Avenrock Materials stated that the amount of rock to be pulled out was likely closer to 600,000 tons per year and that the 1.25 million was the maximum amount that the developers anticipated extracting each year. So why on the later TDOT application has that number moved up to 1.5 million?

5. Nature of Business

TDEC - Limestone quarrying, hauling, crushing, stockpiling and sales (p. 8)

TDOT - integrated manufacturing facility which will produce ready-mix concrete, asphalt, pre-cast concrete pipe/block/forms and manufacture material for use in general construction (Project Overview after p. 18)

Our guess is that this use change occurred because to be eligible for the SIA program through TDOT, a road must be providing access to an industry site or industrial park. Industrial use would be defined more precisely as an entity that produces a product - not a quarry that simply hauls out and crushes limestone, yet produces nothing.


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the Division of Water Pollution Control, Mining Section, will hold the following public hearing pursuant to Rule 1200-4-5-.06 of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation:

Thursday, November 18, 2010
7:00 p.m. EST
Calhoun Elementary School Gymnasium
150 Sherwood Avenue
Calhoun, Tennessee 37309

Last Day to Submit Written Comments for Hearing Record: November 29, 2010

Click HERE for the PDF Full Announcement

County Ready to Close CR 971?

We're hearing County Mayor Gentry is quietly telling officials to prepare for the closing of CR 971, where the head start is located. If the quarry is permitted, CR 971 will be directly in the middle of the 421 acre quarry operation, with a giant conveyor belt overhead. Some speculate the County doesn't want the liability of giant rocks and boulders being conveyed over 971 from the quarry pit to the asphalt plant, concrete pipe plant, brink manufacturing plant, and ready-mix plant. We also imagine the insurance premiums for such an operation would be astronomical, so it's cheaper for the developer to just have the road shut down. Wonder how this will sit with members of the Hiwassee Baptist Church along 954?

We believe the County Commission will be forced to take a vote on closing this road - please call your County Commission members and tell them to keep this road open!


Copy of Quarry Application is finally online, thanks to Channel 9

*****Click here for the PDF version*****

Remember, comments on the application and requests for a public hearing are due by September 20th.