April 3, 2020
EAST ROCKHILL TOWNSHIP – April 3, 2020 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced that the lease agreement for mining at Rockhill Quarry has been terminated. The decision to terminate the lease has been agreed to by Hanson (the owner) and Pierson (the contract operator) for the property. Hanson has also requested an extension to respond to comments requested by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“The termination of Pierson’s lease to mine at the quarry is a tremendous victory for the residents of East Rockhill Township, who have been tirelessly fighting to protect the health and safety of everyone in the community,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “While we know that there is a strong possibility that Hanson will pursue further testing and will try to resume activities at the quarry at some point in the future, the lack of an active operator at Rockhill Quarry is a huge step in the right direction. I will continue to work with REPA, the township and our state and federal officials to prohibit mining, crushing and asphalt activities at the site. The presence of asbestos at the quarry makes those activities inherently dangerous no matter who operates there.”
“The testing for asbestos at the Rockhill Quarry is a major concern with the residents of East Rockhill Township,” Katie Zackon of Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance (REPA) said. “REPA requests that PADEP does not accept the extension, and requires Hanson to respond to PADEP’s comments as scheduled for April 6, 2020. REPA continues to request that PADEP require that all operations at the Rockhill Quarry permanently cease.”
Sen. Santarsiero will be working closely with DEP to keep informed of any requests to transfer the permits or begin a new contract. Sen. Santarsiero has previously called for the permanent closure of the quarry, citing community health risks due to findings of asbestos at the site. Mining operations have been temporarily halted since late 2018 when DEP confirmed positive tests of naturally occurring asbestos at the quarry.
February 14, 2020
EAST ROCKHILL TOWNSHIP − February 14, 2020 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) said a state official’s warning of health risks from asbestos at Rockhill Quarry has prompted him to call for the permanent closure of the quarry and a meeting of state health and environmental officials as soon as possible in order to protect East Rockhill residents.
In a letter this week, Sen. Santarsiero requested a meeting with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to discuss the findings of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) at Rockhill Quarry and the potential health risks to neighbors and students attending nearby schools.
“While mining operations have been halted since late 2018 when DEP confirmed positive tests of naturally occurring asbestos, a recent letter from the Department of Health indicates that any activity at the site poses a risk of exposure for workers, residents, students, and teachers nearby,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “It’s clearly time to permanently halt all activities at the quarry in the interest of the health and safety of all.”
On December 5, 2018, mining operations at the Quarry underwent a temporary cessation following the discovery of NOA. In a letter dated February 7, 2020 addressed to the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance (REPA), the DOH confirmed that “as it pertains to the health of citizens who live near the Rockhill Quarry, NOA is best to be avoided and left alone.”
In a written response to the DOH and other state officials, Sen. Santarsiero stated how the damaging effects posed to those living near the Quarry, particularly children whose schools reside close by, prove justification for operations at the site to be ceased permanently.
“The DOH has made it unequivocally clear that NOA found at the Quarry would be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of residents. This is their home and they have the right to expect clean air and water for themselves and their children. Instead, they are living in fear,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “It would be completely unacceptable for mining operations to resume, given what’s been learned about the condition of the Quarry.”
The February 7th letter from the DOH to REPA and Sen. Santarsiero’s February 12th response can be read here.
Sen. Steve Santarsiero represents the 10th Senatorial District, which includes: Bedminster Township, Buckingham Township, Chalfont, Doylestown, Doylestown Township, Dublin, East Rockhill Township, Falls Township, Haycock Township, Hilltown Township, Lower Makefield Township, Morrisville, New Britain, New Britain Township, New Hope, Newtown, Newtown Township, Perkasie, Plumstead Township, Sellersville, Silverdale, Solebury Township, Telford, Tullytown, Upper Makefield Township, West Rockhill Township, and Yardley.