Letter to Editor: Claims overstated



“They want silence” is one of the more striking statements made by Jeff Gammelin in his Viewpoint contribution in the Islander in the Aug. 14 edition.

This is simply absurd!

Residents of Hall Quarry do not want to live in silence as they go about their daily lives! What we do want and deserve is quiet, not heavy industrial-type noise.

We want to enjoy the sounds of nature that surround us — the wind blowing through the mature pine trees, the melodious songs of the birds, the haunting call of the loons on Eagle Lake. The raucous call of the crows. The chipmunks and squirrels chattering at each other over some food disputes. The sound of the pileated woodpecker ripping rotten wood from a nearby dead tree.

Even our neighbor’s parrot imitating the noisy crows or our barking dogs. These sounds are to a large extent why we chose to live here in the village of Hall Quarry in the first place.

Prior to the now-activated quarry, the loudest sound we typically heard was the arrival of the propane truck, heralded by our two dachshunds! Or the trash truck. Or the snow plow.

Gammelin further writes: “For the past 60 years, American manufacturing has gone silent in one state after another.” True, but this has been largely due to less expensive labor costs in foreign countries, enabling the American consumer to pay lower prices for their TVs, computers, appliances, automobiles, etc.

The loss of most quarrying jobs has been due to technical advances in quarrying, as machinery has advanced (oxen team drivers and galamanders are no longer used to transport the granite, for example) and the increased use of reinforced concrete rather than natural stone in construction of roads and buildings.

Freshwater Stone, located off-island in Orland, “has more than 60 employees” and “is a good-paying job and with full benefits.”

I congratulate them, but I wonder how much money, if any, will be paid to the town of Mount Desert for property tax or other fees. How many of his employees, including Mr. Gammelin, would want to buy a home close to an active working quarry? What other costs to the town are incurred by this operation? Roads, for example.

Why does Mr. Gammelin imply that a relatively small quarry such as ours is the only place in the state of Maine that has pink granite? That is simply not true! Ask any geologist. There is plenty of pink granite in this state. The problem is gaining access to it, without disturbing immediate neighbors.

M. Christine Breedlove

Mount Desert

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