Umstead Park’s dangerous new quarry development met with anger

Ava Darden, Editor in Chief

Recently, The RDU Airport Authority announced plans to resection Umstead Park, expanding the quarry on the property. Several groups, such as The Umstead Coalition, have been campaigning for local government to stand up to the Airport Authority, who they believe overstepped their bounds.

The existing RDU Quarry kept up by mining company Martin Marietta, is situated off Interstate 40, and shares a border with the Airport, placing it under the Authority’s jurisdiction. The quarry has been under operation since the ’70s, with proponents of the expansion stating that such an expansion would be “business as usual, for the next 25 to 35 years,” according to the News and Observer.

Historically, it is clear that quarries are harmful to the environment. They create pollution in water runoff, with heavy metals and chemical byproducts of the mining process washing into groundwater and nearby creeks. Quarries and mining also strips the land of support and non-renewable resources. Although North Carolina has been long known for its famous limestone, it is becoming increasingly important that we preserve the stone table the piedmont sits on, rather than continually mining and tearing apart the landscape.

That is what makes the movement against the quarry so important. As serious environmental issues continue to come into play, and more and more youth take action by striking for the climate, it is important that we do work on a local level to protect not only the greater earth, but our home. 

Although the monetary profit is significant, the longtime costs of ecosystem destruction, especially in such a diverse area as Umstead, outweigh the economic benefit. There are other industries that bring money into the triangle, and it is better that we focus our energy on using Research Triangle Park to build new eco-friendly systems.