Renville County takes action on mine

Renville County takes action on mine

The Renville County Com-missioners have taken the first step in bringing about some closure to the Duininck Bros. saga that has unfolded concerning the hard rock mine located on the north side of the Minnesota River along CSAH 101 in Section 20 of Beaver Falls Township.

The mine, which was errantly opened in the Wild and Scenic River Area, has been sitting idle since a cease and desist order was issued to Duininck Bros. back on April 27, of 2005, which effectively stopped all operations at that site. That order was issued by the Department of Natural Resources and is specifically designed to protect the wetlands, which is a separate issue from what the county is dealing with now.

Since that time, the exit permit, which calls for reclamation and restoration of the site, has expired with no action taken by Duininck Bros. to live up to its end of the contract, according to Renville County Commis-sioner John Stahl.

This has put the county in a sticky situation on what to do, so the commissioners brought in legal help – Scott Anderson from Ratwik, Roszak and Ma-loney PA from Minneapolis.

Anderson addressed the Renville County Commis-sioners this past Tuesday morning, at which time he recommended a course of action for the county to take.

“Mr. Anderson basically thought that the company (Duininck) didn’t uphold their end of the contract we had with them,” Stahl said. “Duininck had until Jan. 1, 2006, to clean up the piles of aggregate and reclaim the site.

“They were supposed to place six inches of typical soil and reseed it to the type of grasses familiar with that territory. None of this has been done.”

Specifically, Anderson presented the commissioners with a legal document that gives Duininck 30 days to make “arrangements satisfactory to the county for reclamation of this site and the performance of Duininck Bros. contractual obligations.”

According to that legal document, which was passed by a 5-0 vote of the commissioners, if the terms are not met, “then the County will initiate a lawsuit by serving a summons and complaint… The sole purpose of the proceedings against Duininck Bros. will be to get such reclamation to occur.”

One organization that was extremely pleased with the action the commissioners took Tuesday morning is Clean Up the River Environment (CURE).

CURE Executive Director Patrick J. Moore was at the county meeting and feels it was a turning point.

“It is pretty obvious that the county needs to enforce its right to govern,” Moore said. “Essentially a private company is thumbing its nose at the law and we are supportive of the commissioners.

“He (Duininck) is in breach of the law and making no effort to follow through. It’s pretty cut and dry. Duininck is a bully and he needs to be reigned in.”

Moore sees opportunity in the commissioner’s actions and in the overall general mood concerning the Minnesota River valley.

“This whole issue is not going to go away,” Moore said. “The pressure is going to continue. We applaud the RCSWD (Renville County Soil and Water District) as they are looking at efforts to purchase easements on land with rock outcroppings. We’ll see how it plays out and try and expand it along the whole wild and scenic district.

“l think we’ve turned a corner and that people are starting to see the intrinsic value of the scenic beauty of the river valley. Now we need to get to work.”

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