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Ste. Genevieve County health ordinance blocks proposed silica sand mine

The proposed mine does not comply with several of the parameters in the new ordinance.

STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. — Opponents of a proposed silica sand mine in Ste. Genevieve scored a major victory Tuesday night.

The proposed site is located on roughly 249 acres of land off Highway 32. Residents said they are concerned about sand dust pollution in the air and water.

On Tuesday, the county health department joined the county commission in adopting a joint health ordinance. It states a mining facility can not be located closer than a quarter-of-a-mile to an occupied residence or stream or a half-mile from a school or church.

The proposed mine does not comply with several of the parameters in the new ordinance.

Last month, Leigh McNail and her sister Jillian Ditch Anslow, got letters in the mail stating that NexGen Silica planned to mine 249 acres just down the road from their property.

“We don’t want this here,” said Anslow. “We don’t want this near our homes.  I don’t want my daughter breathing in silica dust, which is dangerous, and a known carcinogen.”

“Best case scenario, they drop our water table enough to where we need new wells or we need to drill deeper to get to our water,” said McNail. “Worst case scenario, they contaminate the water with the chemicals they use to clean the sand.”

As NexGen reached mineral rights agreements with multiple landowners in the area, the sisters started an online petition that quickly gathered more than 2,300 signatures.

RELATED: 'We don’t want this here': Sisters start petition to try to stop silica sand mine in Ste. Genevieve Co.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will hold a required public hearing on May 19 at 7 p.m. at Progress Sports Complex in Ste. Genevieve.

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