Unanswered queries anger residents


5/8 TC Residents opposed to a planned concrete recycling plant in Crofton took out their anger on state environmental officials Wednesday, criticizing their inability to answer basic questions about the project.

"I am utterly appalled," said Ed Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association. "This is the most non-decisive hearing I've ever attended. We deserve better from our public servants."

Dosek and other residents oppose plans by E. L. Gardner Inc. to install a large crusher, which would recycle 20,000 tons of concrete, stone and asphalt a year.

Residents said they were worried that dust and truck traffic might be worsened if the concrete manufacturer on Route 3 is allowed to begin the recycling operation.

Dosek said the plant and others in the industrial zone already create a dust problem for area businesses.

"I am in favor of recycling concrete rubble," he said. 'But I don't believe it should be done in Crofton's front yard."

Company officials said they were surprised at statements from residents and blamed Crofton officials for starting a feud.

"It's a darn shame that this has degenerated into an adversarial relationship," said William Natter, a private consultant hired by the Gardner's. "From what we know about this site, you are misguided."

Residents said much of their anger stems not from the Gardner operation but from state officials who couldn't answer their questions.

They complained that a model used to show that the Gardner operation met air quality standards was flawed because the numbers used differed from what the permit would allow.

"How can you predict it won't affect the environment?" said Gene Richard. "You're putting the Crofton residents at risk here. You don't have any facts."

Ronnie Gardner, the company's vice president, said he would pay for additional inspections, both by the county and an independent firm. If the state grants the permit, he said he also would be required to install a water suppression system since the plant could be shut down if dust can be seen.

The Maryland Department of the Environment could take several weeks to decide whether to issue a permit for the operation, officials said.

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