RAPID CITY (AP) – Pennington County planners have awarded permits for a limestone mining proposal south of Rapid City, but opponents are still fighting.
Croell Inc. wants to expand the Perli Pit Quarry, but some area residents worry about increased truck traffic, potential releases of harmful chemicals and gases, and harm to the area scenery. The quarry is off Highway 16, the main tourist route to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
"This is a really big operation that is not appropriate at this location," Sylvia Cox said during a Wednesday meeting of the county planning commission that lasted five hours.
The Perli Pit Quarry has been mined periodically by other entities since 1966. Nearly 34 acres already are disturbed at the site. Croell wants to mine roughly another 70 acres during the next several decades and has been trying to obtain permits since 2015. A lawsuit over the legality of mining ordinances that the county amended last year is under consideration by the state Supreme Court.
Representatives of Croell and the state Transportation Department said Wednesday they're working together on plans to mitigate traffic problems. The company also said state regulators have already considered environmental impacts, and that passing motorists won't see the mine.
Croell executives "no more want harm to come to the Black Hills or the community or to any citizen or any visitor than anyone else in this room," company attorney Tom Brady said.
County planners awarded three permits with several conditions attached, but one automatically goes to the County Commission for final approval, and opponents appealed the other two to the commission, the Rapid City Journal reported.