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Goodhue planning commission says no to extending mining ban

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RED WING — The Goodhue County Planning Advisory Commission voted Monday night not to extend the county's mining moratorium. All that remains is final approval by the County Board for the moratorium to automatically expire Sept. 6.

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The unanimous recommendation came after a nearly two-hour public hearing, and echoed the recommendation made July 8 by the county’s Mining Study Committee.

About a dozen area residents, including members of the grassroots activist group Save the Bluffs, engaged planning commission members in occasionally heated discussion about environmental, health and tourism impacts of mining.

Lake City Tourism Bureau President Greg Schreck expressed concern about how mining would affect tourism along the Mississippi River from Goodhue County to the Iowa border.

Planning Commissioner Bernie Overby said the revised mining ordinance allows the county to put provisions in conditional-use permits to adequately protect citizens. "And we will do that," he said.

The planning commission’s decision includes reviewing modifications to the county's Comprehensive Plan stressing the importance of tourism in the area. But commissioners agreed the discussion could be done without a mining moratorium in place.

The County Board will hold a public hearing and potentially make a final vote on the fate of the mining moratorium Aug. 6.

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