Operation Sand requests a second public meeting on silica sand mine

STE. GENEVIEVE – The organization that is fighting the establishment of NexGen’s request for a permit to allow it to mine silica sand in central Ste. Genevieve County has filed a letter with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Land Reclamation Program, requesting a second meeting due to deficiencies in the equipment at the meeting held last Thursday in Ste. Genevieve.

An estimated 250-300 persons attended that meeting. A video of the meeting has been viewed nearly 850 times. It may be viewed on the SteGenTV You Tube Channel at https://youtu.be/EGMWc6iMYbY

The letter requesting the additional meeting cites several of the shortcomings:

“This meeting was conducted in the gym at the local community center. People who attended the meeting sat along the long side of the gym floor and in the bleachers, as well as in the bleachers at each end of the gym.

“There were three video monitors placed on the gym floor. These monitors faced the people sitting along the long side of the gym floor. The presenters used a Bluetooth microphone connected to a floor speaker that was situated on the gym floor facing the people sitting along the long side of the gym floor. During the meeting, the following events occurred: – The Bluetooth microphone failed to connect to the single floor speaker on multiple occasions.

“The floor speaker was switched out several times, but the Bluetooth connection problems persisted throughout the evening, making it impossible for anyone in the audience to hear all that was being said.

“Also, even when the Bluetooth microphone was functioning properly, people sitting in the bleachers at either end of the gym floor had difficulty hearing all that was being said.

“The placement of the video monitors made it impossible for the people sitting at either end of the gym floor to see the content being displayed on the video monitors. Also, several presenters used Powerpoint presentations with small font sizes, which made it almost impossible for anyone in the audience to follow along with the presenter’s technical content.

“The Department did not provide a moderator to facilitate the meeting and ensure it went smoothly. In this regard, the technical presentations were ended by the company after the audience apprehension became apparent. The floor was then opened up to the audience. Because there was no moderator acting to facilitate an orderly meeting, several audience members were allowed to ask multiple questions and make multiple comments, which took away from the time available for other audience members to speak. In fact, after the Department ended the meeting a little after 10:00 pm, several audience members commented they would have asked a question, but they could not. Further, at least two speakers used several minutes making comments directed to personal legal issues involving one of the company owners, which served to inflame emotions. Had a Department moderator been used, it is certainly possible that the entire meeting would have proceeded in a much smoother manner.”

The letter is reproduced here in its entirety:


At the same time the organization released a graphic depiction of a new county ordinance that would affect the proposed mine:

The new county ordinance is reproduced here. It was made available to the Sun Times News Online by Larry Lehman, head of the Land Reclamation Program of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources: