The lawyer for Callanan Industries neighbor Tina Carpino is seeking accountability from the mining company, saying a representative asked his client about being on her own property last week.
Heightening neighbors’ concerns about Callanan’s East Kingston operation, meanwhile, was a report a day later that the company was blamed for flying rocks from a blast site in Montgomery County that left two people injured.
Attorney Steven Herrick said Tuesday he is considering legal options after reviewing the effects of a midday blast in East Kingston but said a company representative acted improperly in questioning Carpino.
“It means that Callanan, which has been aggressively pushing its own agenda with respect to this quarry, has now transgressed into a whole new area where they are telling people who are standing on their own property that they are in a blasting zone,” Herrick said.
State police last week reported that a piece of rock weighing more than 80 pounds from a Callanan mine in the Montgomery County town of Florida injured an 18-year-old student when it went through the roof of a bus carrying 52 students and chaperones from Tourtellotte Memorial High School of Thompson, Conn. A 26-year-old Utica man was also injured when debris struck his car.
“I view the Florida situation as an unfortunate wakeup call with respect to practices at all of Callanan’s facilities,” Herrick said.
Herrick said the incident with Carpino last week supports neighbors’ concern that Callanan Industries officials know there are problems related to blasting on both sides of state Route 32.
“It is the ongoing and persistent invasion of the surrounding property by dust, noise, vibration, and particle material from the quarry which I believe in law would be considered a nuisance,” he said. “That would be subject to injunction.”
Callanan Industries Senior Vice President Charles Stokes was not immediately available available for comment on Tuesday.
Herrick said it’s troubling to him that Ulster Town Board members met privately on Feb. 16 with Callanan Industries officials, representatives of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and a representative for state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston.
“The fact that in a period of approximately six months since they met with the residents, there has been one meeting, apparently, which was held in secret, and apparently produced no results.
That does concern me,” he said. “The town gets its stone from … Callanan, Callanan is a vendor of the town, and there is some question as to whether that’s had an impact on the situation.”
A review of town vouchers shows the town paid Callanan Industries $219,877.48 in 2006 and $15,230.94 since the beginning of the year.
Ulster town Supervisor Nick Woerner said there are no legal options available to the Town Board to stop blasting. He also called the concerns politically motivated, saying Carpino is seeking the Republican nomination for a Town Board seat in the fall.
“I think that has more to do with any of this then the actual facts at hand,” he said. “The fact that Mr. Herrick wants to basically imply that the town is not doing its job because the town is purchasing materials from this company is completely out of line. I take offense to it.”
Herrick also said he doubts the state Department of Environmental Conservation has acted independently of information provided by Callanan Industries about the magnitude of the blasts.
“I don’t trust that the DEC has got this right at all,” Herrick said. “The representatives that were at (a Dec. 14) meeting were completely deferential to the company. Whatever the company said they were fine with; they parroted it.”
State Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Kimberly Chupa said she would not respond without information from department investigators.