Fitzpatrick Calls for Rockhill Quarry Closure Ahead of Friday News Conference
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick on Thursday echoed a state lawmaker’s earlier calls to close the Rockhill Quarry over asbestos concerns.
Fitzpatrick, R-1, of Middletown, demanded federal and state agencies take corrective action against the quarry, reiterating the call for the closure first made by state Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-10, late last week.
“The Rockhill Quarry is located in a residential area, with over 11,000 students attending school less than five miles away,” Fitzpatrick said in a news release Thursday afternoon.
The Bucks County Commissioners also released a statement Wednesday urging for a total shutdown of the quarry.
Quarrying work at the site, which is north of the Pennridge Airport, resumed for the first time in decades in February 2018 but was stopped again in December of that year on orders from the state Department of Environmental Protection after asbestos was discovered.
“I request that any redevelopment of the Quarry be suspended until a multiyear independent geologic investigation is conducted by a geologist, to ensure that our children and surrounding environment are safe from the dangers of asbestos,” Fitzpatrick added, requesting joint action from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well.
Fitzpatrick’s latest push for environmental intervention comes nearly a week after Santarsiero issued a statement following a letter from Raphael Barishansky, deputy secretary of health preparedness and community protection at the state health department.
The letter states that a type of asbestos fiber is present in rock material at the quarry and can be released by crushing, grinding and other activities, prompting Santarsiero to say it’s “clearly time to permanently halt all activities at the quarry in the interest of the health and safety of all.”
Fitzpatrick has previously sent letters to the DEP and Gov. Tom Wolf’s office in November and December of 2018, respectively, regarding various concerns of the proximity of the quarry to residents and asking work be suspended by the state pending an environmental review.
Jeff Sieg, a spokesman for quarry owner Hanson Aggregates, wrote in an emailed statement last week the company “continues to work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and remains committed to developing an operating plan that includes appropriate mitigation measures along with ongoing asbestos monitoring to protect the health and safety of our employees and the surrounding community.”
East Rockhill has engaged the quarry in a legal battle in federal district court over the matter.
Fitzpatrick, Santarsiero and Katie Zackon, of the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance, are expected to hold a news conference at the quarry Friday morning at 11.