Saxony Lutheran High School challenges Strack mining permit

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saxony Lutheran High School has filed a petition for judicial review challenging the state mining permit issued to Strack Excavating.

The suit was filed Friday in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court, asking the judge to reverse the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' decision and take away Strack's permit to construct a 76-acre limestone mine near Saxony Lutheran High School off County Road 601.

The high school presented witnesses at a July administrative hearing to support its claims the mine would be detrimental to the health of its students and staff as well as the livelihood of the school. The Missouri Land Reclamation Commission, a division of the DNR, last month approved Strack's permit application with the restriction that the mine plan boundary be 1,000 feet from Saxony's property line.

Strack's mine plan originally submitted with the application last year showed 55 feet between the mine and the school's property line. In July, House Bill 89 was signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon, prohibiting the Land Reclamation Commission from approving permits for mines within 1,000 feet of a school.

Saxony's attorney Steve Jeffery says state law governing the Land Reclamation Commission doesn't give it the authority to modify permits. He maintains the commission must look at applications as they are presented and only have the ability to approve or disapprove them.

Jeffery said under House Bill 89, the commission does not have the authority to approve Strack's plan as presented.

Saxony is also challenging a permit awarded to a second mining company near the school, Heartland Materials. That company was awarded a permit in February by the Land Reclamation Commission and has already done some blasting at the mine site. That suit is still pending in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City. On Wednesday, both sides argued before Judge Daniel Green on motions for summary judgment. Green has yet to rule on the motions.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

County Road 601, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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