Doubling up on moratoriumsIn case the Goodhue County Board decides to end its silica sand mining moratorium before its September 2013 expiration date, Hay Creek Township will be safe from any mines moving into its boundaries.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
In case the Goodhue County Board decides to end its silica sand mining moratorium before its September 2013 expiration date, Hay Creek Township will be safe from any mines moving into its boundaries.
The Hay Creek Town Board approved a one-year moratorium on silica sand mining at its meeting Aug. 16, mere hours after the county extended its own.
Having two in place at once may seem redundant, but Hay Creek Town Board Chair Arlen Diercks said he thinks some people don’t have a lot of trust in the county commissioners.
“The bottom line is just because they passed this doesn’t mean they’re going to keep it on for a year anyway,” Diercks said. “You just don’t know.”
Board Supervisor Keith Fossen made the motion for a moratorium, “because of inconsistency that a lot of us township folks thought we heard at the commissioner’s meeting. They didn’t seem to all be on the same page,” Fossen said. His motion was seconded by Supervisor Randy Vieth.
Diercks said he would have rather waited before passing a moratorium, but he opened up the meeting for comment from citizens and quickly saw what his constituents wanted.
“The public comment was unanimous — please do a moratorium right away,” Fossen said.
“The vote was going there,” Diercks added. “My personal preference was to wait a few months, but at the same time I want it known that we’re united in how we’re proceeding on this.”
Diercks voted for approval and the motion for a moratorium passed unanimously.
Goodhue County developed a specific Mining Study Committee to delve into silica sand concerns during its moratorium, but Hay Creek Township will utilize its Planning Commission to do the research instead. In fact, the commission has already been investigating for the past couple of months.
“We surveyed every resident of Hay Creek and they told us the 10 top things that they wanted us to address,” explained Fossen, who is the chair of the Planning Commission.
When surveys returned, results showed that residents were primarily concerned about the overall size of silica sand mines, maintaining agricultural land and keeping Hay Creek’s environment and rural perspective the same as it is today.
“We took those top three and that’s what we’re going to focus on in our comprehensive plan,” Fossen said.
The Hay Creek Town Board will discuss more thoroughly how to proceed during the moratorium at its meeting Monday Sept. 10.