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Native Sun News
County commissioners allow mining to continue
Associated Press - September 11, 2017

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Commssioners in Pennington County say a company may continue mining at a limestone quarry as the state Supreme Court considers a dispute over a proposed expansion.

The county Planning Department said in a recent report that the current mining activity is permitted because activity is confined to an area that was disturbed before 1994, when the county began requiring construction permits for mining.

Residents near the quarry south of Rapid City have complained about mining that has continued since the county commission last year revoked a permit for a proposed expansion.

Quarry operator Croell Redi-Mix appealed the permit revocation and won in circuit court. The county has appealed that ruling to the high court, which hasn't issued a decision.

In 2015 Croell Redi Mix bought the Perli Pit construction aggregate quarry south of Rapid City along Highway 16.  In early 2016 the Pennington County Planning and Zoning board OK'd Croell's application for a construction permit to continue mining at the site. Neighbors appealed the decision to the county commission saying expanding the mine would hurt the environment and impede traffic on the road to Mt. Rushmore. The commission reversed the planning board and Croell's permit was ultimately denied.

During a recent Pennington County Commission meeting, resident Duane Abata said he has seen up to 30 trucks a day emerging from the quarry since the revocation of the expansion permit. He said he also has seen rock-crushers, scrapers and other equipment operating there.

"We asked the county to issue a stop-work order," Abata said. "We felt it is important since the Supreme Court's action is still pending."

A motion to issue a stop-work order to Croell Redi-Mix until the Supreme Court appeal is resolved failed on a voice vote.

Tom Brady, an attorney for Croell Redi-Mix, said he believes the company could expand its mining now, but that it'll stay within the previously disturbed area while the appeal in the permit case is pending with the Supreme Court.

The company also has a separate, $10 million lawsuit pending against the county for damages it alleges were caused by the permit revocation.



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