The Scandia city council approved the Tiller gravel mine proposal on Tuesday evening. As previously indicated, mining will be restricted to 3.3 years, shorter than the companies preferred five to 10 years.
Mining is expected to start as early as this fall, once the company gets necessary permits from other agencies, including the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Pollution Control Agency, and the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District.
Mine opponents were disappointed, but vowed vigilance in ensuring the mine operates within its permit conditions, the Pioneer Press reports.
“We are disappointed by tonight’s decision,” said Chris Stein, superintendent of the St. Croix National Wild and Scenic Riverway. “When the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed in 1968, Congress knew that these precious rivers needed the adjoining communities to be an integral part of the protection process. Tonight, Scandia’s leaders made their choice.”
Kristin Tuenges, president of Take Action-Conserve Our Scandia, said her group wouldn’t rule out filing a lawsuit “if we have concerns after (mining) starts and conditions aren’t being met or taken seriously.”
In a message to supporters, anti-mine leader Lisa Phillippi of Take Action – Conserve Our Scandia, wrote:
“Although this is not the outcome we wanted, there are many gains from everyone’s involvement and advocacy. Tiller preferred 5 to 10 years or at least up to 5 years for mining. In addition to the Annual Operators Permit, the Council approved a Compliance and Reclamation Agreement that provides clarification of terms and responsibilities for payment. The Council is also requiring 83 conditions that must be met by the operator.”