published Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Shaw Industries in South Pittsburg, Tenn., seeks comments on expansion into wetlands

Jason Hoosier, left, and Lori Bundy, right, work with others to inspect and flip boards, placing their best side up while at Shaw Industries’ South Pittsburg, Tenn, hardwood manufacturing facility on Tuesday.
Jason Hoosier, left, and Lori Bundy, right, work with others to inspect and flip boards, placing their best side up while at Shaw Industries’ South Pittsburg, Tenn, hardwood manufacturing facility on Tuesday.
Photo by Dan Henry.
HOW TO COMMENT

The notice is available online at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/PublicNotices.aspx on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website. The comment period ends Jan. 11, 2014.

Send comments to:

Nashville District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch

ATTN: Floyd M. Carnes

3701 Bell Road

Nashville, TN 37214

  • photo
    Area of proposed $40 million expansion of Shaw Industries hardwood flooring plant in South Pittsburg, Tenn.
    Illustration by Laura McNutt.

The $40 million expansion of Shaw Industries hardwood flooring plant in South Pittsburg, Tenn., will disturb a small area of wetlands on the 13-acre tract where the work will take place.

Shaw officials say the expansion and associated work on a nearby tributary and wetlands area actually will improve conditions.

But the work means an open comment period must be held to allow public comment or requests for a public hearing on construction that will permanently fill less than a quarter-acre of wetlands and affect just under 950 feet of a small tributary of Poplar Springs Branch. The comment period ends Jan. 11.

The plant expansion is the latest in Shaw's efforts to return to early-2000s production and employment levels, bringing 25 new jobs to the Marion County town. The plant in the town with a population of about 3,000 employs about 200 people now, after adding about 65 jobs earlier this year.

According to a public notice, construction plans include relocation of 943 feet of the stream to the north of its present location, which will lengthen the stream by 219 feet, making the section more than 1,162 feet long. The intermittent stream flows eastward through the south end of South Pittsburg toward Poplar Springs Branch, which empties into the Tennessee River about 2,000 feet north of the Alabama line.

The expansion entails construction on 13 acres on the north side of the plant along 11th Street, according to officials. The notice states the project area is to be studied for impact on endangered species, including the Anthony riversnail, pink mucket, royal sprigsnail, Hart's tongue fern and the snail darter, all of which live in South Pittsburg area streams and forests. The study also states that a study was done to determine the impact on the endangered Indiana bat, but researchers found little habitat on the property suitable for the animal.

Chuck Dobbins, director of assets for Shaw Industries, said the notice on environmental impact is a "matter of course" in collecting the approvals needed to proceed with expansion.

"Certainly we're going to do everything we can to be good stewards of the environment," Dobbins said. "Based on my conversations with our civil engineers, our expectation is that the conditions, storm drainage and other matters associated with the environment will be in better shape than they currently are prior to our expansion."

Shaw officials say the company has invested about $26 million in hardwood operations in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company also has added almost 1,200 jobs in Georgia in 2013.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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