August 31, 2004
Sierra Club Conservation Chair files complaint on land reclamation director
Today, Ken Midkiff, the State Conservation Chair of the Ozark Sierra Club, released a Complaint filed on August 9, 2004, with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
It was my hope and intent that actions would be taken to ensure that the persons in charge of protecting Missouris streams and rivers would act in that capacity. Instead, what has occurred involves a circle the wagons mentality. Rather than ensuring that enforcement of state and federal laws and regulations is happening, the agency is unresponsive to citizens concerns about laxity in protecting our streams and rivers and seems more inclined to protect its retrograde employees.
I have submitted documents detailing rogue sand and gravel mining operations. The Land Reclamation Director has acknowledged that several of these have no permits to mine. Others are operating in flagrant violation of state and federal laws and regulations. Yet, even when brought to the attention of the Land Reclamation Director, these violators continue to operate in the same manner. Notices of Violation have not been issued, no fines nor penalties have been assessed.
The waters of the State of Missouri are impaired on a daily basis by illegal sand and gravel mining operations. Fish spawning beds are covered with muck stirred up by mining gravel bars; canoeing and swimming on Ozark streams are affected by front loaders, backhoes, and dump trucks. The economy of the Ozarks depends on clean, pure water and that is being taken away, load by load.
Since the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has taken no action not even responding, I am releasing the Complaint, so that all citizens of this State will realize that the conditions of the streams and rivers are being compromised.
NOTE: Copies of Complaints filed in April and June, copies of letters from Larry Coen (Land Reclamation Director), and copies of photos (in .jpg format) of the sites of concern may be obtained by calling Ken Midkiff at 573-442-5570.