Scandia gravel mine opponents release video about proposal’s risks

The video highlights the potential effects of the mine on the river and the town, where the issue has become a hot topic in the city council race.

A Scandia group opposed to the Tiller-Zavoral gravel mine proposal has released a short video about the mine.

The Take Action – Conserve Our Scandia (TA-COS) video features footage and information about the Wild & Scenic St. Croix River, which the mine would be situated next to, and the potential effects of mining and hauling on the rural community.

Watch the video

Mine an issue in city council race

The mine’s environmental impact statement was recently accepted as “adequate” by the city council, clearing the way for the mining company to pursue permits.

With two seats on the council up for election on November 6, the mine was a hot topic at a recent candidate forum sponsored by TA-COS. The Forest Lake Times reports:

Dustin Hegland said he would look at the city’s costs; the issues of traffic, pollution, and wildlife; and how the mine would change the community.

Ness said because gravel trucks already use the roads, MNDOT concluded that no change would be needed. “But it’s a completely different pattern,” Ness argued, with people turning left against trucks that have the right-of-way.

He worries there might be a blow-out like the one that happened in the 1970s, causing severe damage. Noise levels and dust control also made his list.

“I have voted twice that the EIS is not adequate,” Ness said.

Bob Hegland said “Long-term, it will destroy roads.  Unless it brings major income to city, I’d be against it.”

Lee said he has read the EIS, visited the site, and called other cities about the legal right to mine. After talking to people in Winona, Two Harbors, Eveleth and Virginia, he concluded that the city must compromise.

“When you go for a zero-sum game, you lose,” Lee said, because if the city votes no, the mine may still legally open.

Lee said Tiller has shown willingness to cooperate with the city, especially by removing washing and crushing from their plans. “If we go zero-sum, we’re in more trouble than if we compromise,” Lee said. He said the city must look objectively at both sides, considering all facts and legal ramifications.

The conversation was not limited to threats to the river, but also to property values. The Country Messenger reports that candidate Dustin Hegland, who lives near the proposed mine site, said, “Add a gravel pit and throw your money that you’ve invested in these homes right in the trash.”

 

Conservation news on St. Croix 360 is supported by the St. Croix River Association, which works to protect, restore and celebrate the St. Croix River and its watershed.

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