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Quarry is topic of public meeting

October 27, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

EDENVILLE, Pa. - An environmental scientist told a group of 75 people Monday that "there are a variety of things you can do to stop the quarry."

The Department of Environmental Protection "doesn't like adverse publicity, and they don't like national publicity," said Eugene Macri of Waynesboro, Pa. "Take back your democracy. DEP can only do what you allow them to do. If you want to fight them, I'll help, but remember that you are going to upset some people. Science upsets some people."

Friends and Residents of St. Thomas (FROST) held a public meeting at Edenville Community Center to inform local residents about issues concerning the quarry that the St. Thomas Development Corp. plans to dig off U.S. 30 seven miles west of Chambersburg, Pa.

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Macri, an aquatic and environmental scientist, said he has worked with various citizens groups in similar struggles.

He said that as a scientist he deals in data. "Science should serve but one master, and that is truth," he said.

While there are federal, state and local levels of protection, Macri said he has seen little cooperation and coordination among the levels.

Macri advised FROST members to go to the DEP office in Pottsville, Pa., to see all the documents relating to the quarry.

"The burden of proof is on you," he said. "They know that citizen groups don't have the time, money or expertise to investigate. You're behind the eight ball. They're not working for you, they're protecting industry."

While Macri acknowledged that many citizens are against zoning, he said that the lack of it is part of the problem.

FROST President Fran Calverase said attendees were encouraged to sign up so they could be contacted when a hearing is scheduled in Harrisburg, Pa.

"We want people to come along to be a presence at the hearing," he said.

The citizen's class action lawsuit against the quarry corporation and various officials will be presented to U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane, Calverase said.

"Judge Kane will determine if we have a legitimate case to go before court for trial. This is an expensive proposition," he said. "If the judge says we have a case, then we have to notify all 5,500 people in St. Thomas Township that they are members of the case."

Calverase said he was pleased with the turnout and the audience's reaction to the speakers, which included state Sen. Terry Punt.

"The fact that Sen. Punt is continuing to shepherd this through DEP is important. We appreciate his efforts. He insisted on a hearing in the first place."

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