Stamp sand issue must be resolved

To the editor:

I am responding to your July 2 article: “Couple raises concerns over stamp sand dredging”. I attended the June 24 Hearing and took notes, and would like to add a few observations of my own. About 75 people attended the hearing, not 54.

There was not even standing room at the hearing! It started with presentations, for which questions were allowed. It ended with five-minute statements from eleven individuals, with no time allotted for questions.

I take exception to three comments made in your article by Tom Logue, president and founder of Torch Lake Industries. First, he said: “There’s no bad things that are happening”. He did not mention that the epicenter of the dredging operations would sit for at least five years in Coal Dock Pond, which incidentally is the only place that harbors life along the entire stamp sand deposit! Barges would dock in the pond at a specially constructed barge mooring facility, trucks would bring sand along specially constructed roads to a storage/de-watering facility (basically a huge pile on the existing sands), long mechanical conveyors would load the sand onto barges, and the sand would be carried away. In the process a long-time bald eagle’s nest would disappear and the central recreation site for six families would be unusable for at least five years.

Second, he said: “We want to clean this mess”. But he proposes to remove only 2.1 million cubic yards of sand – out of the 37 million cubic yards that exist! It seems that only the most commercially viable sand would be removed.

The rest stirred up by the dredging operations would still be free to migrate.

Third, Mr. Logue said: “I want to create as many direct and indirect jobs as I can.” But he made no mention during his presentation of any intention to build a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

I think this was an afterthought! The proposal itself simply stated that the sand would be hauled away by barges.

The stamp sand issue must be resolved somehow. The plan proposed at the hearing was significantly flawed, but could be adapted. For example, the epicenter could be moved to the uninhabitable region north of the Coal Dock. I hope someday to see a joint effort, involving the Corps of Engineers, the Department of Environmental Quality, various commercial entities, and local residents – all working together to eliminate the stamp sand problem.

Harold Evensen