MANKATO — Lime Township’s next decision on the Jordan Sands silica sand mining project has been delayed until May after the company asked for 60 extra days to respond to public comments on an environmental study.
Jordan Sands asked for the delay to thoroughly answer questions about the study, CEO Scott Sustacek said.
“We think we can cover all the comments and questions that came up,” he said.
Fifty-two people and agencies submitted more than 130 pages of comments on the study, said Beth Proctor, a 3rd Avenue resident who lives near the proposed mine.
During its March 5 work session, the Lime Township Board agreed to the extension to give Jordan Sands time to adequately respond to issues raised in the public comments, Board Chair Karl Friedrichs said. The board’s next step is to decide whether or not the existing environmental study is sufficient or whether a much lengthier study is needed.
The initial deadline for the board’s decision was 30 days after the comment period ended, on Feb. 21, and the 60-day extension gives them until the board’s May 14 meeting.
“We need good information for us as a board to make a decision and analyze which way to move forward on the issue,” Board Chair Karl Friedrichs said. He said the length of the extension was agreed upon by the board and the company, though it could be extended further.
Friedrichs said he is “95 percent” sure that a decision won’t happen until the board’s May meeting.
It’s in the company’s best interests to thoroughly answer questions and problems raised about the study. If the board believes there are too many unsettled environmental questions, it is more likely to order the lengthier study.
State agencies such as the Department of Health, the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources joined the public in submitting comments on the study.