Castleton slate quarries create controversy - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Castleton slate quarries create controversy

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The slate industry has been a part of the Green Mountain State since the 1900s, but now some Vermonters whose homes are near area quarries think the industry is overstepping its bounds.

Jane Nicklew has been at her Castleton home since the 1980s.

"When I bought the place it used to be all apple trees and open pastures and since then, they've buried it," said Nicklew.

"They" refers to a nearby slate quarry that she says is responsible for the unsightly hill of debris now in view of her property. Nicklew also worries about safety because of the occasional flying pieces of slate.

They're all over the area, piles of slate rubble that form mountains.

Shawn Camara owns Camara Slate, the company that borders Nicklew's property. He says he feels for his neighbors, but contends that slate is big business and this quarry has been here since the 1850s. Camara says he is dumping on his own property, not hers, and equates Nicklew's situation with those who buy property next to railroad tracks.

Reporter Elizabeth Keatinge: Do you think that possibly a railroad car may go by your house?

Camara: Yes.

Keatinge: Did you get a good deal on the property because the railroad tracks were there before?

Camara: Yes

State environmental leaders agree with Camara.

"Back in 1995, the legislature saw fit to exempt these activities from Act 250 and so our hands are tied at the moment," said Ron Shems, Chair on the Natural Resources Board.

Act 250 was designed to mitigate the effects of development by addressing environmental and community impacts of projects, but at this time does not include the slate industry.

Lou Magnani thinks it should. His property in Wells borders the quarry where piles of rubble and trash have accumulated.

"It's shocking, I mean I see it all the time, but it's pretty gross," said Magnani.

Those who live in the area want something done because they worry about the mountains of debris as they continue to grow.

"It's just not Vermont. It shouldn't have happened," said Magnani.

"Very scary," said Nicklew.

Vermonters disgruntled over the current state of a centuries old industry in the state.

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