As I stand at the end of my driveway in Bradford waiting for the big yellow bus to collect my grandchildren for school, I can’t help but reflect on how much I have learned from the article in The Westerly Sun describing the limits on quarrying approved by the town.
In less than 10 minutes of sentry duty, several purple trucks carrying broken stone and stone dust have passed my position. Sometimes these trucks pass in groups of two and three, giving me the impression that I am standing next to railroad tracks. Like the gentleman quoted in the article, I, too, am amazed at the intensity of the mining operation in Bradford. However, if I accept his assertion that fragments of silica are too heavy to be transported by air, must I then logically accept that water is also too heavy to be transported by air and thus rain is not real?
Dust is defined as the residue created when stone and other earth substances are broken by powerful rock crushing machines. How much more pervasive must this residue be when dynamite is added to the process?
The assertion that the substance that invades our homes, coats our automobiles, and makes writing tablets out of our tables and windows is a fungus is truly remarkable.
When captains of capitalism contaminate communities then slip away from the mess they have made, we all pay for the cleanup. Members of town councils and planning and zoning boards are at a distinct disadvantage when they try to evaluate proposals. We can be sure that before such a proposal reaches their desk it has been thoroughly analyzed in board rooms. Every possible objection has been considered. Even the cost of legal fees has been subtracted from the bottom line.
Members of town councils and planning boards, on the other hand, are given very little time to study proposals before they are pressured to render a decision. They are performing a tough and often criticized duty that many of us would be happy to avoid. In my opinion, the members of the Westerly Town Council and Planning and Zoning Boards are moving in the right direction. By reviewing the experiences of other communities and developing structural procedures that guide the individuals who populate these boards, a process will be in place that should provide for transparent and impartial resolution of future disputes. Only by considering both the benefits to the community at startup and the cost to the community when the activity is inevitably shut down will we be able to determine its true value to the community.
I think that we owe the members of the Town Council and planning and zoning boards our thanks for their commitment to resolve this issue.