Court orders formal hearing in quarry controversy

Published: Nov. 7, 2011 at 11:16 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2011 at 3:10 AM CST
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(KFVS) - A Heartland high school and citizens group trying to stop a quarry from coming to Cape Girardeau County got a court victory.

A Cole County judge ruled Saxony Lutheran High School and Save Our Children's Health do have the legal standing to challenge the mining permit issued to Heartland Materials, LLC.

Heartland Materials, LLC operates a limestone quarry on a 161-acre site adjacent to the school near Fruitland, Mo.

Back in February, the Missouri Land Reclamation Commission decided the two groups did not present good faith evidence that their health, safety, or livelihood would be impacted by the quarry and issued a mining permit.

The judge called that decision unlawful and an abuse of the commission's discretion.

This ruling means the commission must now conduct a formal hearing to determine whether the Heartland Materials quarry adversely affects the health, safety and livelihood of students and teachers at Saxony and area residents.

Heartland Materials representatives did not want to make a comment Monday evening.

In July 2011, legislation became effective which prevents the State Department of Natural Resources from issuing any environmental permits to a quarry located within 1,000 feet of an accredited school.

[Read the judge's ruling. (pdf)]

Saxony Lutheran High School is a private high school built in 2004 in a predominantly agricultural area along Interstate 55 approximately five miles north of Cape Girardeau.

In addition to the Heartland Materials quarry, Strack Excavating LLC was issued a mining permit in September 2011 for a quarry on a 99-acre site just north of Saxony. The Strack permit is under appeal in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court.

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