The following letter was published in the Richland Observer, May 15, 2014.
We want to thank the Richland County Board for all the work they have done over the past year, to understand the potential impacts of frac sand mining in our county. The Board had the foresight to pass a moratorium while they took the time to make sure that our process to permit a frac sand mine would contain adequate protections for our community.
The Board created a Frac Sand Advisory Committee made up of elected officials, county department professionals, and citizens, to provide information to the County Zoning and Land Information Committee. The Advisory Committee heard from experts in a variety of fields, and learned about frac sand mining in other counties.
After over eight months of work, the Zoning and Land Information Committee approved revisions to the Richland County Zoning Ordinance, which separates permitting of aggregate and industrial frac sand mining applications. These revisions will enable the County to determine whether to permit or deny applications for industrial frac sand mines in the 12-zoned townships (Akan, Buena Vista, Dayton, Eagle, Forest, Henrietta, Marshall, Orion, Richland, Richwood, Westford, and Willow).
Here are some examples of the requirements that will be used when considering a mine application for a conditional use permit:
- Monitoring of air quality, water quantity and quality (paid for by the mining company)
- Mining to occur at least ten feet above the water table
- No mining within a half mile of any navigable stream
- Consider health and safety to decide on allowed hours of operation
- Include a road agreement to protect our roads and pay for repairs
- Cover sand in trucks and piles to reduce silica dust
- Minimize bright lights at night
- Set decibel levels to limit harmful noise
- Require a 500-foot buffer zone from a property line
These zoning revisions are based on information gathered from counties and towns who currently have frac sand mining.
Richland County cannot legally ban frac sand mining, but the zoning ordinance gives them a way to limit potential harm or damages from these large, industrial mining operations.
The County Board will vote on the zoning revisions within the next two months. Please call your County Supervisor and let them know you support the revisions to the ordinance. It is important that these protections be in place before the County moratorium on frac sand mining expires on June 30th.
Richland Stewardship Project