Commissioners Steve Jacob, Marcia Ward, and Board Chair Wayne Valentine supported Jacob's motion to not require the lengthy environmental review while Commissioners Jim Pomeroy and Greg Olson opposed Jacob 's motion.
Jacob cited the need for local control of the operation and said the county zoning ordinance, and 37 proposed conditions for operation, will adequatly address any significant environmental impacts. Olson spoke about possible legal action the county could face if no full EIS were required and Pomeroy spoke about the possible cumulative affects if several more proposed mines in the same area are approved.
County Planning and Environmental Services Director Jason Gilman said the board's action now opens a 30 day judicial review period where members of the public can appeal the board's's decision. If no appeal is made, the County Planning Commission and then the County Board will review the 37 proposed conditions on the mine before issuing a final permit.