A significant number of residents gathered at the Sahuarita Town Council meeting on Monday night to voice their strong opposition to the hot-mix asphalt plant proposed by Vulcan Materials Company north of Quail Creek. The attendees, consisting of various community members, expressed concerns about the potential negative impacts of the proposed plant.
Allegations of Misinformation and Disregard for Public Wishes
Several residents accused Town Attorney Jon Paladini of providing the council with what they believe is inaccurate information. Additionally, some claimed that the council was ignoring their wishes and had already made up their minds in favor of Vulcan.
Vulcan Materials’ Permit Application
Alabama-based Vulcan Materials applied for a Type 3 Conditional Use Permit in February 2023. Since then, community organizers have actively opposed the permit, holding petition events, and residents have utilized the Town Council’s call to the audience to express their opposition.
Third-Party Review of Emission Study
Two third-party companies are currently reviewing a 36-page study prepared by Vulcan’s attorneys, which asserts that the proposed site would not produce emissions violating federal standards. The study, funded by Vulcan, was released earlier this month.
Skepticism and Critique of Study Findings
Residents, however, expressed skepticism and criticized the findings of the study. Quail Creek resident Richard Curotto questioned Vulcan’s ability to protect air quality, water aquifers, and land. He dismissed the study’s conclusions, stating that the council had ignored data presented by opponents.
Concerns About Safety and Health Impacts
Residents raised concerns about potential catastrophic failures at asphalt plants, citing incidents reported across the country. They also expressed worries about emergency response times, environmental odors, and health consequences. Peter LoFurno pointed out that Vulcan expects winds to blow toward Quail Creek for 62 days out of the year.
Extensive List of Concerns Presented
During the meeting, residents presented an extensive list of potential consequences they believe the Vulcan plant could bring, including catastrophic events, roadway tragedies, health risks, a polluted aquifer, damaged roadways, damaged pecan groves, and air odor pollution.
Diverse Expertise within Concerned Citizens Group
The Concerned Citizens of Sahuarita group, composed of individuals with diverse expertise, including doctors, environmental health specialists, lawyers, town managers, city planners, traffic engineers, safety experts, and scientists, emphasized the significance of their concerns.
Appeal to Council’s Sense of Responsibility
Residents appealed to the council’s sense of responsibility, urging them to review credible documents and vote against the proposal if they find the concerns valid. They emphasized the potential impact on the well-being of the community and questioned the legacy the council would leave.
Council’s Response and Promise to Listen
In response to the residents’ concerns, Mayor Tom Murphy and Vice Mayor Kara Egbert assured the crowd that no decisions had been made, and they were actively listening to all concerns. Mayor Murphy emphasized the duty to allow the application to go forward but assured residents that their voices were being heard.