Assessment of the perceptions and attitudes of construction aggregate mine operators and county regulatory officials regarding aggregate mining
Aggregate is the general name given to sand, gravel, limestone or other crushed stone materials. Crushed stone, in one form or another, is used in nearly every construction project. However, for a variety of reasons, the average citizen does not realize the importance or need for construction aggregate. As a result, individuals or groups who feel they may be negatively affected by the presence of an aggregate mine, frequently organize to oppose granting the permits required to operate them;A review of the literature suggests obtaining the permits required to mine and process construction aggregate is becoming a more difficult and protracted process;Understanding the attitudes one holds toward aggregate mining may explain the conflicts aggregate mine operators experience during the mine permitting process;This study was undertaken to examine perceptions and attitudes of aggregate mine operators and county regulatory officials regarding construction aggregate mine permitting. By examining the perceptions and attitudes of these groups, insight into problems encountered during the permitting process was gained;Data for this study were obtained from a questionnaire mailed to all licensed or registered aggregate mine operators and county regulatory zoning officials (or their designee) in Iowa and Kansas. Respondents, using a Likert-like scale, were asked to rate items pertaining to perceived problems, factors contributing to problems and processes to mitigate problems associated with aggregate mine permitting;Results of the study identify (1) attitudes of aggregate producers and county regulatory officials toward aggregate mining, (2) problems which may contribute to the difficulty aggregate miners experience when they attempt to obtain mining permits, (3) processes to mitigate problems encountered during permitting, and (4) support the use of educational sessions and processes as a means of resolving aggregate mine permitting problems. In addition, the study provides guidance to those involved in the aggregate mining industry and a frame of reference for further research.