DEQ holds public comment on Frenchtown gravel mining siteNews Type: State Source: NBC Montana
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DEQ holds public comment on Frenchtown gravel mining site
Tuesday evening more than 100 people attended the Opencut Mining Permit public meeting hosted by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
DEQ environmental science specialist Colleen Owen says the meeting was a chance to engage with the public.
“We are really hoping people will give us good feedback,” Owen said. “We’ve got a good crowd, so we anticipate hearing from a lot of people.”
One person who didn’t hesitate to talk was Frenchtown Schools Superintendent Randy Cline. He says he’s concerned the gravel pit will contaminate the school’s water supply.
“Frenchtown High School and Junior High School are most likely the largest school site in the state, with over 700 students and staff entirely dependent on on-site wells for all the water it uses,” Cline said. “There is no other alternative water source available to the school.”
Cline says without the well water the schools can’t function properly. That’s because the water is used for the school’s groundwater cooling system and fire suppression system.
Others took the podium to discuss how they worry about their property value decreasing and the smell the gravel pit would make.
Owen says regardless of whether public comment was good or bad the DEQ wanted to hear it.
“It’s really focused towards the public providing us with substantial comments that point out issues that haven’t been addressed in the permit application,” Owen said. “The DEQ can take those comments into consideration when we are reviewing the permit.”
For those who didn’t have a chance to make a public comment the DEQ asks you submit your comments to them before Aug. 2.
Officials say Aug. 9 is the deadline for the DEQ to determine if extended review is needed or approve the permit.