Combating the digital mob on permitting, zoning

By |  May 15, 2019
Aggregate producers feel the pressure from the community as they pursue permits or business opportunities. Photo by Joe McCarthy.

Aggregate producers feel the pressure from the community as they pursue permits or business opportunities. Photo by Joe McCarthy.

Have you heard the old George Carlin bit where he goes off on those who want to “save the planet”?

Parts of Carlin’s rant aren’t appropriate for the pages of Pit & Quarry, but the late comedian got me thinking as we finalized this latest edition of the magazine.

For those who aren’t familiar with the bit or are fuzzy on it, here’s a snippet from this vintage Carlin routine: “The planet has been through a lot worse than us,” he says. “Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are!”

A Cleveland radio host replayed this the other day as a reminder of how the nation regularly prioritizes the wrong things. Don’t get me wrong: There’s value in treating the planet right, and no one should set out to expedite its demise. But consider the long list of problems we’re facing and how often we’re sidetracked by nonsense.

We are easily misguided, and false narratives have very real effects. They impact industries like ours whose value isn’t fully understood or appreciated by those who need to.

Words of encouragement

There are irrational people in every walk of life, and they, at times, may seem to represent the majority. Some believe screaming at the top of their lungs or berating others online is the most effective way to get their message across.

Undoubtedly, this can keep the rational person down. But don’t lose sight: The rational in this country – and in your community – far outweigh those who are too far gone. We are merely the silent majority.

Aggregate producers undoubtedly feel the scorn as they go about their work lives. As producers pursue permits or business opportunities with their local planning board or zoning commission, many are met with mob-like resistance that tests their will to go through the process.

In battles over local quarries, perhaps the saddest part is that opponents don’t fully understand what it is they’re fighting. They don’t get the value the local quarry brings or, in some cases, they’re so fixated on their singular argument that they’ll never be open to understanding the critical role of the local quarry.

Fortunately, the rational outweigh the irrational. There are people in every community who fully realize that rocks build America. There are others who don’t realize this, but they need to – and you need to tell them.

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