August 31, 2009

Scar or beauty mark

Specialty Minerals' limestone operation in Adams, Massachusetts, keeps gouging out more of the foothills below Mount Greylock, the tower-topped peak in the center. (Click on the photo for a large-scale view.)

These pictures are drive-by shootings taken from Babbie's Prius on East Road. It runs along the hillside on the east of the valley. The mining is on the west side.

In the complex of buildings below the quarry, the limestone is processed. The products go into everything from building materials like joint compound to pharmaceuticals to chewing gum.

This one is taken from further north near the McCann Vocational School in North Adams. It shows the extent of the scar in the distance.

And here we've turned off East and are dropping into town on Lime Street.

I've never heard anyone raise a stink about the Specialty Mineral operation. That surprises me because it seems akin to the strip mining that scared the Pennsylvania landscape for so many years. This gash keeps growing. And there seems to be no reason it won't continue to spread along the hillside.

Still no outcry.

Maybe the difference here is that there's a certain beauty to the quarry. A certain pristine quality to the factory - its buildings always gleaming white from the lime powder that covers them.

It doesn't hurt that Adams, which is not a rich town, gets jobs and taxes from Specialty Minerals. Maybe the company could do something to clean up its act.

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