Reports from Michigan and Utah

  • A Michigan sand and gravel mine operator has issued a stern warning to officials in rural Washtenaw County after suffering a setback in its pursuit of permits for a new mine on 400 acres of farmland, according to Michigan Live. In a March 30 letter, an attorney for Michigan Materials & Aggregate Co., also known as Stoneco, threatened legal action against Sharon Township, an area of less than 2,000 people near Manchester. The six-page missive urges township board members to break with the township planning commission and reject that body’s recommendation it find “no need” for the extracted materials, commonly used in road construction. The letter, penned by attorney Kenneth Vermeulen, states the township’s approval process for the proposed mine, and the way the commission applied those rules, violates Michigan law.
  • Salt Lake County, Utah, Council finalized a zoning ordinance that prevents new mines from being cut into the Wasatch foothills adjacent to Utah’s most populated area. The Utah Legislature, however, previously arrived at an opposite conclusion regarding the mining of sand, gravel and rock – deemed “critical infrastructure materials” supporting the state’s economic boom – in a bill passed in the 2019 session, reported the Salt Lake Tribune. According to the sponsors of HB288, a place like Parleys Canyon is exactly where aggregates should be extracted because these materials need to be mined near where they will be used, otherwise longer trucking distances will drive up construction costs and diesel emissions. The law now appears to have put Utah’s most populous county on a collision course with the aggregate industry and proponents of a limestone quarry who claim to have a “vested” right to mine 634 acres they own three miles up Parleys Canyon from Salt Lake City.

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