Missouri business groups oppose bill to stop silica sand mine in Ste. Genevieve County

JEFFERSON City — Ste. Genevieve County people who traveled to the Capitol on Monday to push for legislation to prevent a proposed silica sand mine have been fulfilled with a wall of opposition from lobbyists for business groups.

Users of the citizens group Procedure Sand, putting on inexperienced T-shirts, crammed a Dwelling hearing space as members of the Residence Rural Local community Advancement Committee regarded a plan by Rep. Rick Francis, R-Perryville, that he claimed would “prohibit the mining of silica sand in a small western portion of Ste. Genevieve County.”

Neighbors oppose Ste. Genevieve County silica mine

The web site of a proposed silica mine off of Glassey Lane in Ste. Genevieve County is observed from a drone on Friday, April 15, 2022. Neighbors residing close to the web page of the proposed mine have expressed objections for safety and high-quality of life good reasons to the mine currently being produced. 

Users of Operation Sand, because studying of the challenge past year, have structured in opposition to it, citing its proximity to place citizens and probable effects on air and h2o.

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Roger Faulkner, associate of the corporation, NexGen Silica, mentioned Monday that the industrial sands he is trying to get on the 249-acre website are utilized in “critical” products and solutions, like semiconductors.

The laws “seems to concentrate on only our corporation,” Faulkner claimed. “We are worried about the precedent that this invoice sets by circumventing the current process.”

Following Faulkner, associates of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Marketplace, the Connected Industries of Missouri, the Missouri Limestone Producer’s Affiliation and the Related Common Contractors of Missouri stood up to oppose Francis’ evaluate.

“Our opposition is seriously predicated on some function we’re accomplishing appropriate now to assist onshore the source chain for semiconductor manufacturing,” said Kara Corches, lobbyist for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. “Missouri does have a actual prospect to be a driver in critical mineral mining.”

“We also have longstanding coverage to oppose any patchwork of restrictions similar to environmental rules,” Corches said.

Whilst a prior model of the laws allowed county commissions and wellness boards to control mining operations, a much more new model strips the language, applying the silica mining restriction to the part of western Ste. Genevieve County in dilemma, Francis mentioned.

Francis and Democrats on the committee poked at the bill’s opposition.

“This hearing was scheduled a week ago, and we set it off a 7 days simply because we have been striving to address some of the problems that some of the fits had out in the hallway with their hair on fireplace,” Francis reported.

Rep. Michael Burton, the Lakeshire Democrat who led a fight to quit a prepared housing progress at the Tower Tee golf course web-site in south St. Louis County, encouraged the Ste. Genevieve County team to persist.

“Not a one community member that is opposed to this invoice showed up right now — not a solitary just one,” he mentioned. “It was a bunch of people today with extravagant satisfies and fancy ties.”

Claimed Rep. Adrian Plank, a Columbia Democrat, “Their community command requirements to overrule major small business.”

People from Ste. Genevieve County, together with close by inhabitants Jillian Ditch Anslow and Chris Eckenfels, two leaders of Operation Sand, testified to the committee in help of Francis’ monthly bill.

John Donze, who reported he life inside 4-tenths of a mile from the proposed web page, explained he and his spouse had lived at their home on Freeway 32 for 48 a long time.

He said he and his brother acquired a farm 45 yrs back and that Establishment Creek flows by the assets. The headwaters of the creek are situated at the mine site place.

“As young children, we grew up with our creek. We played, we swam,” Donze mentioned. He said much more than 20 several years ago, his father, brother and uncle spotted an eagle traveling around the creek.

He mentioned a good friend, the late Walter Crawford, founder of the Planet Hen Sanctuary, told him “for eagles to be that far absent from the Mississippi River, you experienced to have fish in your creek.” Donze asked about ducks, and Crawford claimed eagles also prey on ducks.

“We’re seeing eagles, and we’re observing more eagles,” he stated.

“I’m scared for our creek,” Donze stated. “You have no drinking water, you have no ducks, you have no fish, you have no eagles. And in the finish you have no kids participating in in the creek.”

Lawmakers did not vote on the bill Monday.

Citizens commenced organizing against the project last 12 months. The county authorized an ordinance outlawing mining on the property, which the firm is complicated in court docket. A community assembly on the system was held in Might.

The Office of Normal Methods granted NexGen Silica a surface mining permit in June, but the Missouri Mining Commission rescinded it in January.

The legislation is Household Invoice 982.


Missouri’s Legislature displays the federal composition in lots of means. Online video by Beth O’Malley



Candice Cearley

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