SunRiver Gypsum Mine Campaign Proposal Background Good Earth Minerals is a mining company headquartered in Denver, Colorado, which currently operates a gypsum mine (GEM MINE #1) located eight miles south of St. George, Utah on the Arizona Strip. GEM has proposed an expansion to a new mine located five miles west of the SunRiver activeadult community. SunRiver residents actively oppose the expansion, citing noise, traffic, dust, air pollution and possible further expansion as potential concerns the new mining project would bring to the area. To SunRiver residents and management, the new mine is in direct opposition to the area's reputation as a retirement and recreation community. The overwhelming majority of residents are opposed to the project, with a number of them having even gone as far as to claim they will move away from the community if the new mine is approved. The new mine would require the approval of the Washington County Commission, by granting GEM a conditional use permit. GEM claims the mine will have a positive impact on the community, in the form of 100 new jobs potentially being created and tax revenue eventually being brought to the area. (Initially only 20 new jobs would be created, with more added as operations expanded.) Currently, GEM executives plan on mine operations lasting for the next 20 years, with the mine operating roughly 220 days of the year. GEM has attempted to address the concerns of the residents, claiming water will be used to keep dust down on the site. Additionally, Washington County plans on holding GEM to air quality standards currently required by the City of St. George, which are stricter than county standards. There will also be measures in place to limit the traffic impacts of mining trucks, and GEM has no other plans to expand in Washington County â€“ according to Travis Christiansen, an attorney representing GEM. In spite of GEM's efforts, residents remain unconvinced and feel many of their questions remain unanswered â€“ such as who would enforce the dust requirements. Another potential issue of concern in the minds of residents is that the mine's existence would drive the area's property values drastically
down. Residents additionally feel they have been “left in the dark” regarding the situation, and view the new mine as a threat to their lifestyle. The situation has already begun receiving attention from the local media, with The Spectrum having run several articles in September 2011, April 2012 and July 2012. Additionally, Channel 2 News has started covering the story, interviewing residents about their concerns. SunRiver management feels this type of media attention is largely negative, and could potentially discourage other potential buyers from purchasing homes in the community. As a result, management would prefer the situation handled with as little “bad press” as possible. SunRiver CEO Darcy Stewart will be giving a presentation to the Washington County Commission on August 7, 2012, where the fate of the mining project will be determined. Situation Analysis Good Earth Minerals is a mining company based in Denver that wants to move its mining operations to an area just west of the SunRiver St. George active-adult community. Residents in SunRiver actively oppose the construction of the new mine for the noise, dust, air pollution, traffic and decreased property values and quality of life it would bring to their community. Presentations by both parties will be made and an official decision will be reached at the County Commissioner's meeting on August 7. Potential key publics include members of the Washington County Commission, SunRiver residents, residents of St. George, SunRiver management, local news media and others. Core Problem Good Earth Minerals wants to build a mine next to SunRiver, which residents view as a threat to their retirement lifestyle. Goal Persuade the Washington County Commission to vote down the proposed mine, thereby protecting the SunRiver lifestyle and community.
Key Publics, Messages, Strategies and Tactics Public: Washington County Commission Profile: This public consists of the four members of the Washington County Commission: Chairman Dennis B. Drake and Commissioners James J. Eardley, Alan D. Gardner and County Administrator Dean Cox. This public is heavily involved in local politics and have a wide breadth of experience in local government. They are most likely avid consumers of media, and have a firm grasp on local events and news. This public's self-interests generally include the desire to do what is best for Washington County and effectively represent their constituents, although personal factors may be involved as well. Strategy: Using local mass media, persuade the Washington County Commission that approving the mine would have significant negative implications within the community by alienating SunRiver's residents. Tactics: Publish an op-ed piece by SunRiver CEO Darcy Stewart in The Spectrum. Press release on SunRiver's positive impact on job growth in the St. George area. Article on SunRiver residents' volunteerism and involvement in St. George community. Public: SunRiver residents Profile: This public consists of the roughly 1600 households living in the SunRiver subdivision. All residents are age 55 and older. Many have relocated to St. George from other areas of the country to retire, moving specifically to live in SunRiver. This public is generally very involved in local activities, events and politics, as evidenced by their regular participation in local government affairs such as County Planning Commission meetings and other similar events. A significant majority are opposed to the construction of the mine, and many are extremely vocal about their opposition to the project. This public may be a key intervening public to the Washington County Commission, but must be organized and work together to have its maximum effect. Strategy: Using face-to-face communication, rally SunRiver residents in opposition to the mine.
Tactics: ďƒą Collect signatures of residents in a petition opposing the new mining project. ďƒą Request the attendance of as many residents as possible at the County Commissioner's meeting on August 7, including HOA president and other prominent residents. (Specific number?) ďƒą Work with sales agents to quantify number of potential home listings (residents who want to move) were the mine to be approved, and present the listings at the meeting.