We don’t need no stinkin’ badges
July 7, 2011 —
Wayne Holbert has come back to the Town of Lackawaxen with his third application for an expansion of his quarry. The first occurred in 2005, when Holbert had been receiving notices of violation from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for expanding his operation beyond the five acres that is the state limit for “minor” non-coal mining operations. The same five acres is a legal limit under the town zoning ordinance and the River Management Plan (RMP) for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. In order to get around this limitation, Holbert requested permits for a separate five-acre operation, which were granted.
In the intervening years, he has chipped away at the boundaries of those supposedly separate sites to create the one large area of disturbance seen in the photo on page 3. But that was apparently not enough; in 2008 he came back to the town requesting yet another expansion, this time to 40 acres.
Nothing had changed in the intervening period, either with regard to the laws themselves or with regard to the placement of the quarry, which was to begin with, is now and ever shall be smack dab in the center of the congressionally designated river corridor as per the RMP. But Holbert had a solution for that: just say it isn’t so. Claim that the quarry isn’t in the corridor (also Lackawaxen’s Delaware River Corridor Overlay District), which, for anyone who has actually looked at the maps, is about like holding up your hand with fingers outstretched and telling people to believe that five fingers are really only four.
In 2008, the National Park Service (NPS), Upper Delaware Council (UDC) and a group of opposed neighbors lawyered up to resist Holbert’s preposterous claims, and he withdrew his application. But now he’s back again, and his latest application, presented to the Lackawaxen Planning Board on May 4 of this year, is strikingly similar. Again, he is asking to expand the quarry to 40 acres. Again, he is claiming that it does not lie in the river corridor. But the planning board has referred the matter to the town board, and this time, it looks as though the sympathies of the supervisors may be strongly enough with Holbert—and against the NPS and UDC—that they will actually approve the application.