Osage County Residents Object to Quarry Permit, Citing Health Concerns

The rural community of Belle in Osage County may soon have a new quarry—whether residents like it or not. KBIA’s Sydney Miller was at a meeting in Jefferson City regarding the quarry, and files this report.

By Sydney Miller (Columbia, Mo.)

At a Missouri Land Reclamation Commission meeting Thursday, Barrett Material Inc. was granted a permit to mine a 178 acre plot in Belle. Barrett Materials has a quarry in New Haven, Missouri, and wants to expand. The commission also denied the Belle residents’ request for a formal hearing on the matter.      

Most of the residents that spoke at the meeting objected to the permit because they say the dust from mining will create a myriad of health problems. Many say their doctors advised them to move if the quarry was built.

Mary Rath is on several prescriptions for her heart and blood pressure problems. She is a Belle resident and a business owner, but says she will close her business and leave Belle if the quarry is built. “The dust particles, the size of the limestone dust particles are very small, so again, gusts of that are threatening to anyone with breathing problems. ”

Barrett Materials owner James Barrett introduced himself to the residents at the meeting, saying he hoped they would be good neighbors. He pointed to a record free of violations at his quarry in New Haven.

This was the first meeting between the residents, Barrett and the commission. Rath says the residents plan to take the issue to the US Army Corps of Engineers for recourse.