The NC Department of Environmental Quality has authorized a buffer request by Wake Stone Corporation for the proposed construction of a bridge over Crabtree Creek.
The bridge would be part of a controversial quarry adjacent to Umstead State Park, one of the area’s most popular recreational destinations.
DEQ approved the bridge under the Neuse Buffer rules. A buffer authorization allows for impacts within a North Carolina protected riparian buffer. There are no direct stream or wetland impacts associated with the bridge construction.
However, Wake Stone can’t begin construction unless it receives additional permits from the state and county. NCDEQ is still evaluating the mining permit. The Wake County Planning Department would have to issue a building permit, and the county’s Environmental Services would need to conduct a flood study.
Policy Watch reported last month that Wake Stone, the company behind a controversial quarry expansion next to Umstead State Park, had significantly changed its mining permit application to include a bridge over Crabtree Creek, a troubled tributary of the Neuse River.
The plan was included in a modified application that Wake Stone submitted to the NC Department of Environmental Quality on April 8.
According to the company, the bridge would be built over a portion of the creek that lies within the proposed new mining boundary. It would be used to truck “overburden” — clear-cut trees, soil and other unusable material — from the existing Wake Stone operation to a storage pit at the proposed mine, which has yet to be permitted.
In its application to DEQ’s Division of Energy, Mining and Land Resources, the company claims bridge construction and other mining activities won’t harm the creek “for the foreseeable future.”
The buffer authorization is limited to the riparian buffer impacts associated with the proposed bridge only and is contingent upon approval of Wake Stone’s request for a modified mining permit, which is still in process with the DEMLR. Issuance of the buffer authorization does not indicate the outcome of the mining permit review process, according to DEQ.
DEQ has scheduled a virtual public hearing on the mining permit for Tuesday, June 23, at 6 p.m.