Rock Products

OCT 2016

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Page 48 of 63 ROCK products • October 2016 • 47 Environment The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) submitted preliminary comments to the Environmental Pro- tection Agency (EPA) concerning a forthcoming process that the agency will use to conduct chemical risk assessments. This process will determine if and how EPA will attempt to further regulate common rock dust. The EPA is required to revise its current process by June 2017 in accordance with the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). NSSGA's written comments, filed Aug. 24, reflect a broad consensus that the agency must approach its chemical risk assessments fairly. NSSGA emphasized that the EPA should clearly define the chemical substance being assessed in a risk evaluation early in the process, while providing opportunities for public input on that definition. The agency should also define substances based on their physical properties, such as the crystal habits of various minerals, which can be relevant to whether the substance presents an unreasonable risk. The rule should allow the EPA to exclude de minimis expo- sures from risk evaluations and to find that a substance presents an unreasonable risk at certain exposures or con- centrations but not others. The EPA should be allowed to find that the unintentional inclusion of a naturally occurring chemical substance in a product does not require the EPA to conduct a risk assess- ment or to promulgate regulatory requirements regarding any such risk. "NSSGA believes that EPA must conduct risk evaluations using a 'weight of the scientific evidence' approach that does not give preference to studies finding positive evidence of health or environmental risks over studies finding no such evi- dence," said Michael Johnson, NSSGA president and CEO. "This approach should include formal causal statistical analyses of the exposure response data and not simply an examination of associations." The agency is expected to publish its proposed rule mid-De- cember 2016. NSSGA said that it will thoroughly examine the agency's proposal at that time and determine if additional comments are warranted. Graymont Concludes Deal to Create Park with Overburden Graymont announced that agreements have concluded with three Canadian municipalities involved with the Bedford Her- itage Project, "a crucial step in the realization of a unique initiative that will help ensure the continuing long-term operation of one of the largest employers in the region," the company said. The Heritage Project offers an innovative long-term solution to the problem that faces Graymont in terms of disposing of unusable stone overburden from the Bedford quarry. The ini- tiative basically involves stacking the unusable stone on site, then covering it with soil and plants to create a new regional park and green space. The first phase of the project, expected to take four years to implement, involves construction of the first of the three hillocks, which will incorporate the park's basic infrastructure, a playground for children, an amphithe- ater, a chalet housing exhibit space and hiking trails. "Conclusion of the agreements we are officially announc- ing – with the town of Bedford, Bedford Township and the municipality of Stanbridge Station in Quebec – is the result of extensive consultations with key stakeholders, including local and regional administrations, representatives of the agricultural industry, community groups and residents of the neighborhood," said Sébastien Villeneuve, director of opera- tions for Eastern Canada at Graymont. "It shows that, with a collaborative approach based on mutual respect, we can find innovative solutions that are beneficial for all parties." Significant elements of the Heritage Project that will directly benefit the community include the establishment of a fund to cover the costs of the management, maintenance and security associated with the new recreational green space, along with several complementary initiatives – including $400,000 for maintenance and improvement of the local arena. Realization of the Heritage Project will also result in the creation of 30 new residential lots. Finally, a citizens' forum will be set up to monitor the project. The Heritage Project embodies the pillars of sustainably – economic, environmental and social – required to underpin a successful project. It is anticipated that the project will extend the operation of Graymont Bedford by more than 40 years, thus ensuring some 70 direct jobs plus 150 indirect jobs among local suppliers and communities – which together account for an estimated 15 percent share of economic activ- ity in the region – while respecting world-class environmental standards and having minimal impact on adjacent farmland. NSSGA Warns EPA on Risk Assessment Process

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