Board worries about conflict of interestFollowing several failed motions at the Goodhue County Board meeting Tuesday, commissioners eventually agreed to table a discussion about sand mining until their meeting Feb. 21.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Following several failed motions at the Goodhue County Board meeting Tuesday, commissioners eventually agreed to table a discussion about sand mining until their meeting Feb. 21.
Land-use management staff came to the meeting recommending that the board direct them to develop a contract to work with Summit Envirosolutions. Summit would help the county’s Mining Study Committee gather and analyze information pertaining to regulations on sand mines, existing mining facilities, best management practices and more.
The mining committee has been working on a request for proposal for professional services since November and received only two responses. After interviewing both, the committee decided to move Summit forward for the board’s consideration.
“This is a group, a team,” Land-use Management Director Lisa Hanni said. The only other proposal was from one individual. “The mining committee liked the team approach,” she added.
While some county commissioners favored contracting with Summit, others had reservations about the group’s history of work.
Summit has previously dealt with Windsor Permian, an Oklahoma-based energy company that owns 155 acres of land in Hay Creek. John Dustman of Summit’s Environmental Resource Management department said the business done for Windsor Permian consisted only of survey work. Dustman also said he only ever spoke with one person at Windsor.
Still, the County Board showed concerns.
“Because of the relationship there I think we’ll have more problems,” Commissioner Jim Bryant said.
Commissioner Ted Seifert was also skeptical about Summit’s involvement with Windsor, but he decided to move the staff recommendation forward with the condition that Summit not be allowed to work on a conditiona-use permit for mining in Goodhue County for an entire year after work with the county ceases. That was the first of multiple motions on the issue to die for lack of a second. Others included a motion not to contract with Summit and a motion to table the matter to a March 20 meeting.
Hanni reminded the board several times that Summit would not be writing or making any changes to the county’s zoning ordinance.
“We’re just asking for their expertise and information. They’re going to deal in facts, not hearsay,” Commissioner Richard Samuelson added. “With that information we could write a good, honest, fair ordinance. I think it’s worth a lot.”
Interested in learning more before making a final decision on the matter, the board decided it will bring the topic back to a Committee of the Whole meeting Feb. 21, just before the board’s regular meeting.