The city of Huntsville is standing by their assertion the air is "safe to breathe" at the location of the new, illegally named, Ronald McNair Middle / Mae Jemison High School despite it's close proximity to an active rock quarry.
Mayor Tommy Battle and the city's air quality chief, Danny Shea, both say the amount of particulate matter in the air on Pulaski Pike is far below levels considered potentially harmful by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.That's strange because the current President of the Huntsville City Council was among a very vocal and prominent group of people who protested Vulcan Materials operating an active rock quarry less than two miles from schools in Gurley, Hampton Cove and McMullen Cove in Gurley Mountain.
The city has an air quality monitoring station next door to the school site; Shea said it measures airborne particulate matter every six days.
The EPA threshold for particulate matter is 150 micrograms per cubic meter.
Shea said 46 micrograms is the highest reading detected by the city on Pulaski Pike in the past five years. The average particulate concentration was 14.8 micrograms in 2009; 17.8 micrograms in 2010; 16.3 micrograms in 2011; 14.9 micrograms in 2012; and 13.5 micrograms in 2013.
The levels are similar at Huntsville's other air quality monitoring stations on Airport Road, South Memorial Parkway and Madison Street downtown.
In a May 27 letter to the mayor, Shea said the city's measurements "demonstrate the absence of substantial adverse air quality impacts from quarry operations at the proposed school site."
Other elected officials speaking against the quarry were Mark Russell, president of Huntsville City Council, Madison County District 3 Commissioner Eddie Sisk, state Sen. Paul Sanford, state Sen. Shadrack McGill, state Rep. Wayne Johnson, Gurley Mayor Rob Sentell, Gurley Councilman Robert Wren.The group has asked the city to earmark $250,000 for a health risk assessment study A study that should have been conducted before the land was purchased, and ground broken. The Huntsville City Council voted to spend 3 million dollars to land Alabama's first Cabela's outdoor superstore, and 47 k to hire a firm out of LasVegas to conduct a feasibility study for high speed Internet service, the least they can do is invest in a health risk assessment before the school is built to make it will be safe for students, faculty, and staff to occupy. The city is asking concerned citizens to trust the expert,concerned citizens are asking for verification in return for their trust.
Their concerns addressed environmental quality of Flint River and Hayes Nature Preserve, unsafe traffic with trucks crossing Norfolk Southern Railroad along a curve, heavy trucks sharing roads with school buses, air quality at two nearby schools and a lack of local governmental control of the quarry operation.
"TRUST BUT VERIFY was #Reagan's position w/Former USSR on Nuclear Arms;Why cant US Citizens demand same w/ their Govt?"