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Judge sets deadline on gravel mining in Bay Shore

Hayes Township residents protest Rieth-Riley's plans to resume mining in Bay Shore. Residents say they're concerned about potential contamination in the groundwater and in Horton Creek, a tributary of Lake Charlevoix that flows into Lake Michigan.
Teresa Homsi
Hayes Township residents protested Rieth-Riley's plans to resume mining in Bay Shore March 27, 2023.

A Charlevoix County Circuit Court decided Friday that gravel mining in a northern Michigan community cannot go on indefinitely — but also won't come to an immediate stop.

The case concerned a 30-year-old consent agreementthat set constraints on gravel mining in the Bay Shore community.

Interveners argued the agreement put a 25-year time limit on mining, while Rieth-Riley Construction, the current owner of the gravel pit, asserted the schedule was "advisory only" and could be changed, according to market demands.

Judge Roy Hayes III said the language in the consent agreement is unclear.

"If the parties intended H&D or their successor, Rieth-Riley, to mine in perpetuity to exhaustion whenever that may be, 25-year time limit be damned, that should have been spelled out in the consent agreement," Hayes said.

Hayes added that Rieth-Riley has until Dec. 31, 2028 to complete mining in Bay Shore. Restoration of the gravel pit must be completed the following year.

Residents have been calling for mining operation to be shut down over the last year.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
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