PARLEYS CANYON (ABC4) – Opposition is growing to a proposed mine up Parley’s Canyon.

“This will just be another source of pollution,” said Carl Fisher, executive director with Save Our Canyons.

The group’s petition, titled “Protect Parleys Canyon and The Wasatch Front,” has been signed by more than 21,000 people.

“Salt Lake County’s horrible air quality,” said Fisher.

“Putting a 650-acre mine that’s going to blow dust down into Salt Lake County when we already have air we can’t breathe?”

“Seems like a horrible idea,” added Fisher.

Farm Tree LLC owns the property, and Granite Construction has been hired to run the mine. Their proposed mine, outlined here in a document to Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, spans more than 300 pages.

Spokesperson Matt Lusty says the environmental concerns — including dust pollution and air quality — are addressed in a Q & A here. But, he says, the argument over air quality isn’t as simple as critics say. Utah’s booming population, he says, will necessitate natural resources to pay for infrastructure and housing and those resources already exist close to home.

“If we push it, get it away from the Wasatch Front, get it to other areas where mining is happening, well you’re actually creating more of an air quality problem because you have trucks that have to drive further distances. This mine is being proposed in the place it is because of access to already built infrastructure,” said Lusty.

Farm Tree LLC is appealing the denial of a smaller mine on the property, even as the campaign to get approval for the larger mine continues. Meantime, a process is underway in Salt Lake County “to eliminate mineral extraction and processing” in forestry and recreation zones.

That proposed ordinance will be discussed on Feb. 16 at 8:30 a.m. during a Salt Lake County Planning Commission meeting.