Letter to the editor: Sen. Tiffany, mining companies need to cover costs of damages

By DON FOY | La Farge

A recent editorial by state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R – Hazelhurst) finds fault with the premise of “anticipatory nuisance,” which is being used as basis of a lawsuit to stop a sand mining operation in Jackson County.

There are a few layers of irony here. While no one can prove in advance that a mine will be a nuisance, common sense and experience shows that mines often do cause air and water pollution, increased traffic, excess noise, and decreased property values.

No one can prove that the mine will be a nuisance, but Tiffany and the mining company can’t prove that the mine will be harmless either. So, fair’s fair: let Sen. Tiffany and the mining company vouch for the mine. If the court decides for the mine, and it causes no damage, fine; its proponents can make their investments and get richer.

But if it does do damage, they would have to pay to fix it. That would include loss to property values and tourism income.

The larger irony is that Sen. Tiffany says anticipatory nuisance will also undermine local control. In 2014, Tiffany co-sponsored a bill limiting the ability of towns and municipalities to control mines. He said all such places are “trying to establish mini DNRs.”

But that bill also restricted the DNR from setting reclamation standards. Recent history shows Republicans don’t want an effective DNR at all. They’re doing whatever it takes to wrest power from citizens and hand it to corporations.

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