Oneida County Board Rejects Mining Resolution

Oct 15, 2019

Credit Wikimedia Commons Royal Broil

The Oneida County Board voted Tuesday to reject a call to end the possibility of mining on county forest land.

County voters last November said they were opposed via an advisory referendum by a 2-1 margin to allowing mining on Town of Lynne county forest land.

A large zinc, copper and gold deposit is under county forest land in Lynne, which is in western Oneida county.

Supervisor Alan VanRaalte, whose district includes Lynne, introduced the resolution. He said the vote made him feel he was compelled to end the possibility of mining in Oneida county.

After the vote last fall, the county has taken no major action regarding the results.

Several members of the public spoke in favor of the measure prior to the vote.

Van Raalte explained his effort...

"...The resolution is intended to codify the results of the November, 2018 referendum. When the mining question was put to the electorate, over 82 percent of eligible Oneida county voters weighed in on that referendum. 62 percent voted no while 37 percent voted yes. A landslide, I think, by any definition..."

A yes vote would have put the matter to the county Planning and Development committee to host a public hearing at a later date. But supervisor Bob Mott spoke for a number of the opponents of the measure.

"...What's happening is your extending your opinion expressed in that vote to the whole county and I'm not sure that was true. I wished, and I think I asked at the time, that a second question would have been, 'Would you vote to allow metallic mining anywhere on county lands?' That wasn't asked...."

Mott said if the vote came up again on just the Lynne site, he would vote not to allow it. The final vote on VanRaalte's resolution was 8 in favor and 11 opposed.