More questions than answers as citizens address the Chambers County Commission on recent drilling

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Will Hadaway and a dozen other residents of the Ripville community of Chambers County were on hand Monday evening to express concerns with some drilling activity witnessed on a parcel of land located along CR 116 and CR 62.

“We’re up here because of what we believe to be a quarry, or a potential quarry being installed in the Ripville community,” Hadaway said.

Hadaway told the commission that he and members of the community were told that the property was placed into a conservation easement.

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According to the Alabama Forest Resource Center, easements in Alabama are typically donated to a land trust by the owner. If the donation benefits the public by permanently protecting important conservation resources and meets other federal tax code requirements, it can qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation.

“We’ve heard this land has been placed into a conservation easement,” Hadaway said. “We’re curious if this could ever be revoked — that would be a big deal.”

Hadaway said he witnessed a drilling rig on the property on May 9. Hadaway said the company was named 3D Dycus Diamond Drilling out of Wytheville, Virginia.

“We spoke to two of the people and, of course, they didn’t give us any information,” Hadaway said.

The Chambers County Commission did not make a comment following Hadaway’s comments.

Jim Grassiano, Chief Compliance Assistance & Operator Certification Programs with Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), said based on reaching out to a lot of people, they do not have a licensed Alabama well driller working anywhere near CR 116 in Chambers County.

However, if a company is doing some kind of geotechnical investigation and not drilling to produce water per se, then the driller would not need to be licensed.

Along the site on CR 116, there is a sign posted to a tree written in what appears to be a permanent marker that reads, ‘Coming Soon Ripville Rock Golf Course 18 Holes.’

A search of the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office shows a newly formed LLC named Ripville Rock Company created on May 5. The company is registered to Joseph M. Tucker of LaFayette. When reached by email, Tucker declined to comment. It is not clear if the two are related to one another.

Attempts to reach 3d Dycus Diamond Drilling by The Valley Times-News for comment were unsuccessful.