Group Opposed to Izard County Sand Mine

CALICO ROCK, AR - Landowners along Mill Creek in Izard County are objecting to a company's application to operate a sand mine along the waterway.

The stream has long been popular for its clear water, swimming, boating and fishing.  But the creek's water has been cloudly lately due to silt that has run from the creek's bank.  The cause of the erosion is a topic of disagreement between regulators and the company and landowner.

The Arkansas Dept. of Environmental Quality on June 19 issued an emergency order to B&H Resources of Shreveport, Lousiana, to halt construction along the creek bank at the site of a sand mine for which the company is seeking a permit.

The owner of the property, George Bartmess, and his partner with B&H Resources, John Hardy, say the silt is not a result of the work at the prospective sand mine.  Bartmess says he cleared some of the land, but that was legal because he is permitted to perform farm work on the parcel.

Bartmess and Hardy say the silt was caused by the tremendous amount of rain the region got during the spring, and the resulting flooding.

About 35 landowners, Friends of Mill and Piney Creek, say they have seen bulldozers at the Bartmess parcel cutting into the creek bank.  The group is led by Tammi Trotter, who said the work has a direct impact on the creek.

The group wants the state to deny the mining permit.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)