written comments sent to PA DEP – Lower Milford Quarry application

Colleen Connolly – Community relations coordinator DEP, NE regional,

This correspondence is in regard to a recent public hearing on 127 acres in Lower MilfordTownship that was the subject of a DEP hearing last week relating to a quarry application. Please consider this a formal submittal of comments related to the Geryville materials quarry application hearing.

My name is Ron Beitler and I am a Township Commissioner in Lower Macungie Township. I am speaking from my position but not for the entire board. While others share my viewpoint, our board as a whole did not take formal action.

As you may know, Lower Macungie is a regional planning partner of Lower Milford. As a community we are well aware and sensitive to the fact that air and water quality matter across municipal boundaries. Therefore the DEP ruling – pending the outcome of the local proceedings – will impact Lower Macungie in addition to all our municipal planning partners.

First it’s important to note that the courts have upheld time and time again the notion that a community has a right to protect its natural features. Not only is it a local responsibility, but an obligation outlined in the state constitution. Therefore the issue of Lower Milford being permitted to protect it’s natural resources is, I believe, a matter of regional concern.

Article I Section 27 of the Pennsylvania constitution states: The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.
Here are two of the most important points to consider:

  • The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has listed the Mill Hill area as a high priority preservation site in the regional Comprehensive Plan as well as in the Natural Features/Greenway plans. Mill Hill has over 600 acres of contiguous woodlands with deep woods and wetlands.
  • Bog Turtles as well as several types of breeding trout have been found on or directly adjacent to the site.
In addition to very clear regional implications a quarry at this location would also adversely affect our neighbors to the south of us in terms of compatibility with Montgomery Counties comprehensive plan.
For these reasons and others to numerous to list I urge the DEP to reject Geryville materials quarry application. 

Furthermore, Geryville materials should be ordered to cease any activity on the land with the potential to disrupt the regionally significant natural features located on the site.

Thank you for your time,
Ron Beitler – Lower Macungie Township Commissioner

State Rep. Hon. Ryan Mackenzie 134th district
State Rep. Hon. Justin Simmons 131st district
State Sen. Hon. Pat Browne 16th District