DEQ seeks public comment on gravel pit proposal for Highway 212 - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

DEQ seeks public comment on gravel pit proposal for Highway 212 project

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Site of the Highway 212 project about 5 miles South of Laurel Site of the Highway 212 project about 5 miles South of Laurel
An opencut mining permit for this 41.7 acre Yager site South of Laurel An opencut mining permit for this 41.7 acre Yager site South of Laurel

The Department of Environmental Quality wants to know how you feel about an opencut mining permit application for a site 5 miles South of Laurel. The 41.7 acre Yager site is proposed by Nelcon, Inc. and aims to help crews working to add a 10 mile stretch to Highway 212.

The DEQ's Public Policy Director Kristi Ponozzo said the permit may either be further reviewed, approved, or denied based upon if the department feels there is substantial concern. 

"We want to get feedback on what some of the issues are," Ponozzo said. "We use that information to help us develop the permit and potential mitigations for the permit."
Some landowners living near the Yager site expressed concern over how the project would affect their neighborhood, with questions about how long the reclamation would last, noise and water pollution. 

Michael White supervises the Highway 212 project the permit is designed for, and says crews hope to work with surrounding residents, not against them.

"Generally, when we have a concerned citizen, we like to address the issues at hand and try to work with the adjacent landowners closer to the project to make their lives better, because it in turn makes our lives easier," White said. 

White said the mining permit essentially adds a gravel pit on site of the highway project that would allow the roadway to be completed sooner. 

"Essentially it's just a really good borrow source that would build a really solid foundation for the structure of the highway and help aid it to be completed in a more timely manner," White said. 

The permit application can be viewed at https://searchopencutpermits.mt.gov/ by entering "Yager" in the "site name" box, and the DEQ welcomes comment until May 1st, with the DEQ's decision deadline being May 3rd. 

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