Stop order lifted from concrete company

January 09, 2007 11:00 pm

By Cornelia de Bruin

Triplicate staff writer

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has lifted its cease and desist order issued last October to Freeman Rock in Brookings, Ore.

The Corps ordered Freeman Rock to cease and desist its operations on the Chetco River in October, effectively interrupting the steady flow of aggregate.

Aggregate — the gravel Freeman Rock mines from the Chetco during the dry months of the year — is one of three ingredients in concrete. Freeman Rock is the only full-time supplier of the material to the Curry County-Del Norte county area.

"This lifting of the (order) does not authorize Freeman Rock to remove aggregate during the 2007 removal season," said Bill Yocum, an employee who handles permitting matters for the company.

The move is an indication that the Corps has completed its investigation and found no violations on the company's part, he said.

"Freeman Rock has been operating in a responsible and prudent manner," Yocum said.

Before the company can resume its operations, however, it must obtain a clearance from the National Marine Fisheries Service, undertake a spring survey of the project area showing the redeposit of gravel during the wet months, meet with a marine fisheries biologist to discuss additional ways to minimize the company's effects on the river and submit a gravel removal plan based on that meeting.

To operate last year, the company was required to be permitted by Curry County, the Oregon Department of State Lands, Department of Geology and Mineral Survey and Department of Environmental Quality. It also had to get biological input from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

This year it needs an additional permit from the Corps, with biological input from the National Marine Fisheries Service.