By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Roger and Kyle Faulkner of R & K Construction and Nexgen Silica, LLD, expressed frustration at last Thursday’s county commission.
Roger Faulkner told the commissioners he thought they had been on the same page after he had told him about plans to develop a sand mine earlier.
“All three of you said you supported it,” he said. “Now, I don’t know what we did wrong.”
Faulkner said he was surprised to find that the commission had adopted an ordinance, setting setback distances for all future silica sand mining operations in the county that Monday, and that the county health board would do the same the next day.
He said they are “all taxpayers in the county” and that the officials are elected to protect them as well as those who oppose the operation.
He said he was disappointed in how things were handled.
“I’m not an entity from Cincinnati or New York. I love on OO and DD and you know what, every year Linda Wagner sends me a tax bill and I pay my tax bill and, you know what, just like Operation Sand does.”
He expressed frustration that the ordinance was passed “three days before we had an opportunity to answer questions” at the public meeting. He said, that if the commission or health board felt the project did not meet acceptable standards after the public meeting, then he would support that decision.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson replied that they had been favorably inclined toward the project Faulkner and Rod Scherer had pitched. However, he said the word “silica” had never been used.
“I didn’t know silica sand was used in fracking,” he said. Nelson added that once complaints started coming in, the commissioners did some research and got up to speed on potential dangers of the microscopic silica sand.
“If it would get in the water, we don’t know how far these aquifers go,” Nelson said.
BRIDGE WORK DELAYED A DAY
Repair work on the Franklin Bridge, scheduled for the day before, had to be postponed till Friday.
Keith Simpson Contracting of Scott City lifted the 102-year-old bridge and got it set back on its foundation. It had slipped off the foundation previously. First the metal plating installed by Pete Harnish in December 2020 was removed to make the bridge lighter.
The commissioners spoke with Simpson and with Jeremy Manning of Smith & Company Engineering of Poplar Bluff about the project. The commissioners also voted to approve drawings that had been submitted for the bridge repair.
The meeting adjourned at 11 a.m., to give the commissioners a chance to view the process.
The bridge, built in 1920 and reinforced at various times over the years, crosses the St. Laurent Creek on Franklin Road, just outside of St. Mary and just inside the Ste. Genevieve-Perry County border.