ST. PAUL – Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, has been appointed to a task force which addresses materials which often are overlooked but literally provide the foundation for our everyday lives.
The task force is officially known as the Aggregate Resources Task Force. It was created in 1998 to examine sustainable management of materials such as sand, gravel, clay, earth and bedrock. These substances are used to construct our transportation infrastructure, homes, offices, schools, factories and more.
Reports indicate the statewide annual demand for aggregates is over 50 million tons per year, an increase of about 50 percent since the early 1980s. That increase has outpaced previous projections, tapping mines sooner and causing mine operators to seek resources farther from where they are needed.
“This is one of those subjects most people won’t think about until there is real trouble and I would just as soon never reach that point.” said Swedzinski, who as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Mining, Forestry and Tourism also will co-chair the aggregates task force. “Aggregates are so crucial to our society, yet there are real concerns on the horizon. Our job is to ensure aggregate resources are managed well today so materials remain affordable and accessible for future generations.”
The task force must study and provide recommendations to the Legislature prior by June 30, 2018. By law, the group’s report must address:
- The Department of Natural Resources' and Metropolitan Council's aggregate mapping progress and needs.
- The effectiveness of recent aggregate tax legislation and the use of the revenues collected by counties.
- The use of state funds to preserve aggregate reserves.
- Local land use and permitting issues, environmental review requirements, and the impacts of other state regulations on aggregate reserves.
“This is a complex set of issues with no easy solutions, which is what makes this work so important,” Swedzinski said. “I look forward to formulating bipartisan recommendations to help our state take constructive, appropriate action.”
Swedzinski received the appointment from House Speaker Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.