Overcoming Opposition and Building Community Acceptance: Everything is Political

The Saint ReportAggregates/Mining, NIMBY, saintblogLeave a Comment

(Editor’s Note: Chris Hopkins, senior vice president for aggregates and mining at The Saint Consulting Group, lectures at the University of Arizona School of Mining and Geological Engineering and leads industry workshops on building strong community ties. This article appeared in the Stone, Sand & Gravel Review, September-October 2009 edition)

By Christopher Hopkins

SS&G ReviewSixty-two percent of Americans say they’d oppose an aggregate quarry if one were proposed in their hometown. To put that in perspective, it’s more opposition than a nuclear power plant registered in the 2009 Saint Index survey of attitudes about local real estate development projects.

Despite the economic recession, America’s NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude is still overwhelming in every region, the nationwide survey of 1,000 adults found. An aggregate quarry is near the top of the “unwanted” list, trailing only a landfill (78 percent opposition) or a casino (77 percent) when it comes to a person’s hometown.

In such an environment, it is increasingly necessary for operators seeking to develop or expand a quarry to demonstrate public support before local politicians will vote for a needed zoning change, an air permit application or any other public approvals.  No matter how good a project is or how many tax dollars it will bring into a community, elected officials increasingly take the expedient path of siding with the roomful of angry constituents – especially if the only voices in favor are the applicant and his paid consultants. Click here to link to Stone, Sand & Gravel Review. For a pdf version, click here

Chris Hopkins is senior vice president for aggregates and mining for The Saint Consulting Group, email hopkins@tscg.biz, phone 615-656-3794

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