Vulcan announces Open House at much-protested granite quarry

A promotional photograph on the site offering free tickets a grand opening Open House at the controversial quarry near Batesburg-Leesville shows a smiling Vulcan Materials Company employee. (Photo courtesy of Vulcan Materials Co.)

 

Vulcan Materials Company, the company at the center of a firestorm of protests and legal actions against its rock quarry near Batesburg-Leesville, has announced plans to celebrate the granite-crushing operation’s grand opening with an open house.

The event is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to a listing with the online ticketing site Eventbrite. The link to free tickets to the open house is here.

According to the event listing, Vulcan Materials Company is “committed to being a good neighbor and operating in a safe, socially and environmentally responsible manner.” The site further appeals to interested area citizens to attend by saying, “As your new neighbor, this is a great opportunity for us to get to know one another. Our team will be on hand to show you how we make the crushed rock used to build and maintain local roads, homes and businesses.”

The Open House offers “tours, exhibits, big machines and free food,” according to the ticketing site. “See how we make big rocks into small rocks to support the local economy,” the site states. The event listing adds that no firearms are permitted at the event.

Protests against Vulcan Materials Company’s investment at the 522-acre site off U.S. 1 and Windmill Road began six years ago when the project was announced. Members of the Ridge Protection Coalition, a local citizens’ group, launched an unsuccessful campaign to block the construction of the quarry , which started operations last winter.

The ad hoc coalition most recently met publicly this past Wednesday with County Councilman Larry Brigham, Batesburg-Leesville Mayor Lancer Shull and members of the state legislative delegation in attendance. The first topic of discussion was the quarry and the group’s criticism of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s handling of permits for the quarry construction.

“We have had a lot of concerns for several years,” said Nelda Rikard, president of the Ridge Protection Coalition following the group’s latest meeting. “DHEC has their regulations to go by, and we just felt that DHEC needs to be more proactive instead of waiting until something does happen. It’s my fear that something will happen with the quarry.”

Vulcan Materials Company is further touting its Oct. 16 grand opening party as an educational opportunity. “Learn how we use science and technology in our daily operations,” the event listing states just before reiterating the offer of “free lunch in our pop-up Quarry CafĂ©.”

Story by Tony Baughman / Posted September 28, 2019