Why is the Quarry Lease Such a Big Deal?

Why is the Quarry Lease Such a Big Deal?

THE RDU QUARRY LEASE – WHY IS THIS SUCH A BIG DEAL?

Russ Stephenson

Below are comments about why this issue has become such a big deal. My full statement opposing the RDU quarry lease is here: https://www.russforraleigh.com/why_i_oppose_the_rdu_quarry


DOES THE CITY HAVE A RIGHT TO INTERVENE AGAINST THE QUARRY DEAL?

While I cannot discuss Raleigh City Council’s closed session deliberations about the RDU quarry lease, in my conversations with well-informed stakeholders it is clear that Raleigh does have standing to intervene against the quarry lease and does have a reasonable expectation of prevailing against the quarry lease.

The only two groups who insist the city has no right to intervene are (1) the Airport Authority attorneys and (2) those with personal, political or financial reasons for not wanting Raleigh to intervene.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

No one disputes the enormous environmental destruction of a 100 acre quarry. Likewise, no one disputes it will be impossible to undo environmental damage caused by the quarry or the long term negative impacts the quarry will have on Umstead State Park.

In addition, the City of Raleigh’s environmental experts say that the Authority’s recent attempt to pass legislation weakening the Neuse Buffer Rules within the airport property would have a significant negative effect on our environment, especially our water quality. This represents a disturbing pattern of anti-environmental actions against land owned by Raleigh citizens and three other local governments, and suggests that more anti-environmental actions may be expected.

IS THIS A POLITICAL WEDGE ISSUE OR IS IT AN ENVIRONMENTAL TURNING POINT FOR OUR COMMUNITY?

The quarry lease has become an important topic ONLY to the extent that irreparable damage would needlessly be done to Umstead State Park for all time.

In all my years on Council, there has never been such a thoughtless and misguided attack on our environment as this. If ever there was a preventable environmental disaster in our backyards that was worth fighting against – THIS IS IT.

The way this has become a political wedge issue is via the campaign of social media counterattacks, designed to deflect from the quarry’s certain and lasting environmental destruction, in order to give cover to those with personal, political or financial reasons for not wanting Raleigh to intervene.

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STILL SEEKING COMMON GROUND

My first desire is still the same as it was in our March 5th Council motion: to pause the quarry lease and enter into good faith conversations toward an outcome that is good for the airport and good for the environment. I am optimistic the Raleigh City Council will soon support the first option. If negotiations fail, I hope Council will stand up for the long-term environmental interests of our community in addition to the success of the airport.

Russ Stephenson

Raleigh City Councilor At-Large, LEED Accredited Architect, Sierra Club Life Member