Lipinski Works With Communities to Pinpoint Cause of Nov. 4 Tremor


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has said the 3.2 magnitude tremor was the result of blasting in the Hanson Materials quarry in McCook. The congressman has been working with local officials, federal agencies and quarry representatives to analyze seismic data recorded that day to determine if the tremors were the result of an explosion at the quarry or some other seismic activity.

“More than a week after this event that alarmed residents throughout our communities, we still need answers,” Rep. Lipinski said. “Clearly, we have a case of conflicting data, with the USGS evidence suggesting an explosion at the quarry directly caused the seismic event and Hanson Materials suggesting two events occurred — one a planned blast, the other still unexplained. We need to get to the bottom of it so something like this does not happen again and that we hold Hanson responsible for any damage if the company is indeed responsible. As the federal representative of the area, I am committed to working with all involved parties so homeowners and business owners are protected.”

Rep. Lipinski, a resident of Western Springs, roughly two miles from the quarry, has requested the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms begin an investigation into the circumstances of Nov. 4. In a letter last week, the congressman asked that both agencies “ascertain whether laws, regulations, and protocols may have been violated” regarding the purchase, storage and use of explosives. Rep. Lipinski subsequently has talked at length with the USGS about its observations and is planning to meet with Hanson Materials officials in the next week.

The Lyons Township Quarry Advisory Council is composed of local communities and McCook quarry operators who meet regularly to discuss issues related to quarry operations.