Inside208

Action Needed SB 431: A One-Size-Fits-All Approach Written by Gravel for Gravel

Posted on November 10, 2020 by Dene Westbrook

Contact your state Senator today to oppose Senate Bill 431. It may come up for a vote as soon as this Thursday, November 12, 2020.

Ask “what’s the rush” to vote on a bill that desperately needs more work. It strips away local government’s (already very limited) authority to make decisions regarding gravel mining, processing, and crushing. SB 431 uses industrial standards regardless of the location of a mining operation. The legislation removes all local context of a situation, and treats a mining operation in the middle of nowhere the same as one located next to a residential neighborhood. This one-size-fits-all approach is a dangerous move putting profit over people!

The legislation also lacks environmental safeguards and necessary oversight of how mining can impact natural areas, groundwater and air quality. An environmental impact overview of SB 431 can be reviewed here. The legislation is tie-barred to Senate Bill 849. However, SB 849 fails to provide any protection against environmental harms resulting from mining activities.

Even if your community doesn’t currently have gravel mining operations, or there’s no issues with current operators in your area, this legislation is yet another swipe at the ability for your municipality to make decisions based on what’s best for your community and the health, safety and welfare of your residents. It also sets a dangerous precedent for future special interest to seek one-sided legislation to override local zoning authority.

Urge your state legislators to oppose SB 431, and encourage them to not rush a vote during lame duck! The Senate will be returning, and the House will be maintaining the same majority makeup as it currently has, next year. This issue needs more work! SB 431 is an assault on local control hiding behind claims of property rights, removing local oversight with NO oversight, all to the benefit of the aggregate industry.

View previous blogs on SB 431 here and here.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

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