As consideration of the Ziller/Tavoral gravel mine proposals plods forward in Scandia, local writer Laurie Allmann recently published a commentaryon Minnesota Public Radio’s website about the issue.
In the piece, Allman describes kayaking up the river in the area where the mine would be located. The city recently accepted the Environmental Impact Statement for the mine, and is now considering permits:
I hear the cry of a hawk, and look up to see a pair of broadwings riding the updrafts along the valley ridge. I raise my binoculars, and realize that above them are still more hawks, a whirling tornado of migrating birds filling every depth of the sky. I watch as they spiral higher and higher until I can just barely make them out, tiny specks against the blue.
When these hawks return next spring, they could find this stretch of river a very different place. In the coming weeks the city of Scandia will consider whether to approve a conditional use permit that would allow the Tiller Corporation to operate a 64-acre gravel mine atop this very river bluff. A fringe of trees would block the view of the mine from the river. But according to an environmental review of the project, people down on the river could expect to hear noise from the mining operation: the sounds of excavating equipment and trucks removing 1.2 million tons of gravel from the site for as many as 10 years.