EBSCO explains initial quarry position

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

EBSCO Industries held a press conference Tuesday morning to explain the company’s inital negative position on White Rock Quarries’ proposed limestone quarry.

Uday Bhate of Bhate Geosciences Corporation presented his findings on the danger of sinkholes presented by the proposed quarry.

Bhate said the Vulcan Information Plant area is surrounded by sinkholes, and this particular area of Alabama is prone to developing sinkholes.

To put a quarry in the middle of that, he said, would likely speed up the process of sinkholes developing because water would drain into the quarry. It is possible that a sinkhole could threaten the integrity of the Vulcan building, he said.

“It’s very difficult to plan for this, because sinkholes are so random, you cannot predict (their location),” Bhate said.

In response to a question about what a sinkhole could do to the building, Bhate said, “Just imagine you’re standing there, and a hole opens up underneath you. What would happen?”

During the press conference, EBSCO president F. Dixon Brooke Jr. reiterated that the company has made no final decisions concerning the proposed quarry.

“Let me stress, we’ve not made any final determination,” he said. “We have strong ties to the Vincent area. We have many employees who live in this area, and they’re naturally concerned.”

Brooke said EBSCO officials have had meetings with White Rock officials in which the White Rock officials confirmed that the quarry would cause sinkholes. White Rock officials could not provide information to assure EBSCO officials that sinkholes caused by the quarry would not affect Vulcan’s plant and operations.

“We will do what we can to make sure we can remain viable in the community for many years,” Brooke said.

Vulcan general manager Barry Franklin said 220 employees, many of whom are local residents, depend on the Vulcan plant for their jobs. Out of those 220, 58 employees have been with the company for more than 15 years.

“We want to maintain the jobs that have helped us get to where we are today,” he said.

Franklin introduced some long-time employees, who spoke about what they want to see happen with Vulcan and with Vincent.

Kedric Dunn, an employee for nearly 53 years, said he’s worried that the quarry will mean Vulcan will have to leave the area.

“I’m here because I like being here,” he said. “I’m concerned about the outcome of the quarry situation. I’d hate to see jobs lost. I’d like to see jobs still here when I leave. I’d like to see the building still here when I leave.”

Brooke ended the press conference by emphasizing the company’s desire to stay in Vincent.

“We’ve been here for 41 years. We hope to stay for another 41 years or longer,” he said. “We’re very much in the mode of gathering as much factual information as we can. We’re not trying to scare anybody.”

EBSCO is also having studies done by experts in blasting, noise control and dust control. Brooke said the company would take a public stand on the quarry upon getting and processing those studies.