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Peat mining: Consider the bigger picture

Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

I was pleased to see the SV Weekend editorial on June 29 [“For peat’s sake, board has big decision ahead”] about the decision the zoning board made, voting 5-2 against the permit for peat mining north of Garden Plain Road. This is peat, and mining topsoil and peat brings to mind a soggy, swampy land.

In Canada, where they protest mining on an ecological basis, citing global warming, topsoil isn’t involved. It’s different here because some of the mining strips topsoil from some of the richest agriculture land in the world, destroying it forever. You’re taking rich farmland and turning it into a bog.

When did a bag of topsoil become a vital necessity? This justifies destroying farmland?

It’s well known that those people have purchased many more acres. For agriculture? Probably not.

Mined land around here doesn’t “often” fill with water – it “always” fills with water. When they quit pumping the water out, after every cubic yard of peat and topsoil is gone, the hydraulic pressure plays havoc with surrounding properties.

My brother-in-law had a sand point, and when Markman peat stopped pumping a hole almost a mile away, it ruined it. He built a well. Yes, just a sand point, but almost a mile? There are days we can sweep the patio and our lawn furniture, and we live a mile away.

It’s scary when you call zoning and ask, ”What are the regulations regarding how close they can come to your buildings, your house?” and the person says, “As far as I know, there are none.”

No one likes to see jobs lost, but balance 30 to 50 jobs per plant against hundreds or thousands of acres of farmland gone forever. I think we need to consider the bigger picture – our descendants, and hunger in a world where none should exist.

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