To the Editor:
How does the county board of commissioners deal with a mine violation? What power do they have and when can they exercise it? Does it make any difference?
Any time a violation occurs, due process is required to protect the legal interests of the violator. Third District Court Judge Sturino ruled, Feb. 2017, that the Tracie Erickson Mine road violated the 50 foot setback from an adjacent property and, the county board must create the remedy. The board held a hearing on 4/25. Does the judge’s ruling prevent the board from reviewing the entire mining ordinance provisions with the Erickson mining operation? No. Zoning Ordinance Section 10, gives the board power to scrutinize the mine’s compliance with every sentence in the zoning mining section. If there is one violation, could there be more?
Our mining ordinance hasn’t been consistently and thoroughly enforced since zoning was adopted in 1967. The board is now in the spotlight to demonstrate it can properly enforce it own laws. One glaring omission is the board requiring itself to set the performance bond to insure reclamation. This insurance protection has never been demanded in county history. No mine will freely buy the Bond. Without the bond, the county is liable for reclamation costs.
These mining issues are the result of a dismissive, laid back attitude by some county offices, boards and commissions. Will this board be an improved change over its predecessors by honoring their own law? Will it be conscientious towards the people’s interests?