After years of trying, a quarry has state approval to expand.
Neighbors have been fighting the expansion since it was first proposed more than five years ago. Many of them still hope to stop it.
The state department of environmental protection took three years to study the proposed expansion of that quarry in Luzerne County. Now, the DEP has given the quarry the okay.
The expansion still needs Dorrance Township approval.
Those who run the quarry said 150 jobs are at stake, but neighbors said they still have big concerns.
Pennsy Supply said its small mountain quarry is running out of room. That’s why it wants to expand it just off the Dorrance exit of I-81.
The construction company has been trying to get approval for an expansion for more than five years.
The company’s president showed Newswatch 16 the plan that he said is revised based on prior worries from neighbors.
“We listened, we listened to all the comments and suggestions from the residents and supervisors and we incorporated that into this new plan,” said Patrick Bartorillo of Pennsy Supply.
Many neighbors, like Mark Caladie, have expressed concerns since Pennsy first proposed the expansion years ago.
People along Blue Ridge Trail have fought this every step, and had some victories along the way.
“The whole quarry itself, I’m not happy with it at all. They’ve never really been honest with us. We hear all kinds of rumors, they’re going to expand it all the way down through here,” Caladie said. “It’s been three years ongoing and we don’t know much about it all and I’d like to know what’s going to happen.
The company said it is taking big steps to control noise and create a buffer between the quarry work and the homes to make the impact minimal.
The president also said Pennsy will take extra measures to make sure a nearby stream is safe.
“We are very hopeful. We think we have a really good plan that addresses all the concerns about protecting the environment and protecting our employees,” Bartorillo added.
From truck drivers to mechanics, 150 people rely on the quarry for jobs. If it doesn’t expand and runs out of rock used for road construction, the company said there will be layoffs.
Stanley Witinski of Dorrance Township has worked there for nearly two decades.
“This is my job. I have a lot of people that work with me up in the shop that depend on this place. This is our living. That’s it, this is our livelihood,” Witinski said.
The next step for the quarry is to get approval from township supervisors.
They will likely be holding a hearing on the expansion next month.