Letters to the Editor

Sand mining needs more scrutiny

A Sept. 21 article about proposed sand mine operations in an area off U.S. 501 and West Perry Road stated that RCPS, the owner of the property, is just trying to get a county permit to continue mining operations for another 25 years. Justin Harris, representing RCPS, said, “We just want to extend our duration. We don’t look to increase volume at all.” I don’t believe this is accurate.

On Sept. 19, I attended the open house conducted by Justin Harris of RCPS Properties at the site of the proposed sand mine. Mr. Harris handed out an information sheet which states that RCPS is already mining five acres at the site and “Allowing us (RCPS) to move forward on this project will not add to the number of trucks on the road.” Well, according to the handout, the proposed project will involve “approximately 225 acres left to be mined.” Robert Shelton, the attorney for RCPS, has been quoted as stating that digging operations would occur on no more than 75 acres at any given time. Well, 75 acres is 15 times the five acres currently being mined. Wouldn’t that result in a 1500 percent (that’s right, 1500 percent) increase in truck traffic? And a 1500 percent increase in the noise level? And a 1500 increase in dust in the air?

So what effect would this proposed sand mining operation have on the community?

The situation at U.S. 501 and Carolina Forest Blvd., which is currently a big bottleneck area, particularly during peak hours and during the summer tourist months, will get a lot worse. This will have an adverse effect on local businesses and local residents and it will discourage tourists from coming into the area. It will have a negative effect on real estate values and will further damage South Carolina’s already fragile economy.

Trucks loaded with sand always have spillage onto the roads. This will cause cracked car windshields, reduced visibility, and, potentially, an increased risk of accidents.

A Sept. 7 news story reported that South Carolina has the distinction of having the most dangerous highways of any state in the nation. Cpl. Sonny Collins of the highway patrol was quoted as saying: “If you know you’re traveling on a highway like U.S. 501 and it’s going to be congested during rush hour always look ahead.” How will drivers be able to look ahead with trucks carrying sand in front of them?

The writer lives in Conway.