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gravel mining
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The Michigan Senate has overwhelmingly approved bills to strip local governments of authority to issue gravel mine permits.

The bills would give permitting authority to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.  In the vast majority of cases, EGLE would be required to issue the permits even if local governments and residents oppose new mines.

gravel mining
Adobe Stock

Supporters and opponents of bills to remove local control over gravel mines testified at a hearing in the state Senate Thursday.

The bills would have the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy approve or deny permits, instead of villages, townships and cities.  

The sponsor of the bills, Democratic Senator Jim Ananich, admitted there were no gravel mines in his district. He also said he had not met with township officials while the bill was being drafted. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Tom and Michelle Joliat's lovely home in Metamora, Michigan is situated high on a hill with a stunning view of the woods below.  

Normally, it's peaceful and idyllic here. Metamora Township is a rural area about 25 miles southeast of Flint.  

But in the distance, you can sometimes hear the faint drone of the U.S. EPA drilling yet another monitoring well. The wells are monitoring the movement of a plume of groundwater contaminated with 1,4 dioxane and other toxic chemicals.