February 12, 2013
The Scandia City Council (Minnesota) is preparing to vote on Tiller Corp.’s proposed 114-acre sand and gravel operation later this month. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the council directed city staff to prepare a resolution approving the permit during its Jan. 15 meeting. The approval is expected to include more than 90 conditions, including ones involving the ongoing monitoring of groundwater, traffic, noise, and dust.
Council member Sally Swanson told the newspaper that she expects to be sued regardless of how the council votes. “I tried my best to look at who’s going to have the better case…because what’s going to cost Scandia money in the long run is if we have to defend a lawsuit,” she said. “At this point, it’s Tiller.”
Several groups, including Take Action-Conserve Our Scandia, the National Park Service, and the St. Croix River Association are opposed to the project.
Tiller Director of Land-use Affairs Mike Caron told the newspaper that the company hopes to begin mining the property by the fall and expects to extract 1 million tons of sand and gravel for use in hot-mix asphalt.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press interviewed Bruce Swenson for a man-on-the-street perspective on the proposal. “The sky isn’t falling. It’s like so many things that come up controversial about this thing: ‘Don’t put it in my back yard,'” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to watch everything that they do with a big microscope. And when everything is said and done, the community is going to be better off for it when it’s over.”