This isn't about coal, it's about our county

To the editor:

Coal mining is, and has always been, allowed in Spencer County. A company wanting to open a mine simply must submit required paperwork and go before the Spencer County Board of Zoning Appeals. The board consists of five Spencer County residents who are your neighbors, friends, or perhaps your childrens' basketball coach. They are tasked, in this case, with weighing the pros and cons of a proposed coal mine in our community. After they hear the support or concerns from everyone involved, they have the tough job of deciding what’s best for our county. They then vote to add restrictions or to accept or deny the permit. This process also applies to veterinary clinics, antique shops, day care facilities, sanitary landfills, greenhouses, etc.

The Board of Zoning Appeals protects the interests of Spencer County and its residents.

A proposed coal mine near Mariah Hill failed to pass this process. The landowners leasing their ground to the mine have now approached our commissioners to get the ordinance dropped as it pertains to coal mining. They propose that a company wanting to mine would no longer have to go before the board of zoning appeals. They are suggesting the county strip away its own ability to protect its residents, give up local control and hand over the keys.

This does not just affect those near Mariah Hill — it will affect all of us. Nearly 75% of Spencer County is zoned agricultural.

This isn’t about coal. Had this been a proposed landfill in Mariah Hill, it likely wouldn’t have been approved either. This is about our county. Why, as a county, would we give up the ability that we currently have to protect our own interests?

The commissioners will have the final say on this matter on November 6 at 2 p.m.

—Blake Voges
Spencer County

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