A South Carolina county is considering relaxing its mining regulations.
The Sun News in Myrtle Beach reports Horry County Council could enact zoning ordinances that would make it easier to dig mines near homes and wetlands by allowing mines in all county zones. Mines smaller than five acres would no longer need county certification to operate.
Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled the county ordinances were inconsistent with state regulations after mining company Red Bluff Rock sued the county for denying a permit to dig a 50-acre limestone mine near the Red Bluff community. The company had already secured state permits to operate and said county leadership’s decision led Red Bluff Rock to miss out on $70 million in profits.
After the ruling, attorneys for Red Bluff Rock helped craft the legislation on the table, according to The Sun News.
Some landowners and environmentalists are worried the looser laws could create adverse health effects and disturb natural resources. Mining companies say their industry is overregulated by state and local authorities.