Mining in Traverse Mountain is one of the most contentious issues in Lehi at this time. I live 300 yards from where the mining will occur. I've kept up with the issues and it's the primary reason I'm running for City Council.
Attending another meeting tonight to learn what monitoring will be done to to monitor this work a couple questions came to my mind that the answers to will help you to understand how I would approach this issue.
1. Should a business be the primary party to ensure the safety of their goods or services?
2. Should the government step in to protect the citizens?
First every business and resident should be responsible for their actions and I would prefer our government to stay out things that they are not needed to be involved in. Every business and resident should have incentive to not hurt others lest they be held responsible to the harm of themselves.
The reality is that the interests of an individual business or individual resident may be in direct opposition to the health and wellness of others. If the resident or business can get away with bad behavior, or at least for a while, they can enrich themselves to the harm of others now. Businesses or residents with significant resources can further use the government or the court system to shield themselves or buy time to continue to enrich themselves.
City government has responsibility to be a fair arbiter between parties in our city. When mediating these conflicts ultimately the decisions should be made in ways that ensure the city prospers. A prosperous city is here for the long term and as such the health and welfare of it's residents must be protected to create an environment residents want to live in and businesses want to do business in.
Ugh Why Are We Here?
In the end I don't believe an exception to the master plan should have been made that allowed the mining to be put on the table.
Now that we are here we still have the opportunity to at least ensure that the party gaining the most is required to provide the proof their operation is not harming the neighborhood they are working in. The State estimates a single air monitoring station will cost in the range of "six figures" so the cost to taxpayers would be significant if we have to do it. I don't believe an exception leading to millions of extra dollars in profits should have been made given it costs taxpayers money to try to protect the air quality.
Further if possible the exception to remove the mountains that make our community what it is should be reconsidered and potentially retracted to allow the development to occur in a way that is consistent with the master plan. It is only fair to the current residents that did their due diligence about the zoning in their area have it respected. Nothing about this plan makes the neighborhood better now or in the future that justifies the immediate nuisance of mining, no less the potential negative health effects on the residents of Traverse Mountain.
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