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Sand Mining Not Good For Wisconsin

December 5, 2012

More and more dialogue around the state is showing the deep dismay, and concern that taxpayers and involved citizens have with the sand mining industry.  That industry wants to take our sand, ruin the landscape, harm the environment, and make lots of money for themselves while doing it!  What is not to love about the idea?

I am very glad that more people are coming to their senses, and making their voices heard.  Such was the case today in the Wisconsin State Journal.

During the recent sand mine hearing at the Bridgeport Town Hall near Prairie  du Chien, many citizens shared concerns in attempts to protect the river, their  health, their lifestyles and their families.

These concerns covered everything from air, noise and light pollution, to  destruction of farmland and safety concerns over increased truck traffic.

Were concerns really heard? Extensive research is needed before the  Bridgeport Planning Commission and town board can make a knowledgeable decision.  What a responsibility! Their decisions will impact the lives of future  generations of southwest Wisconsin citizens and visitors to the area.

Each year, Starsplitters’ astronomy club members volunteer many hours  presenting astronomy programs and “teaching” the night sky at Wyalusing State  Park. I’m apprehensive about the future of our astronomy events (potential  light, air and noise pollution produced by a mine), but more importantly, I’m  concerned about changes that will be forced on people and the loss of the  outstanding natural beauty and serenity of the riverway if this sand mine is  permitted.

It is imperative that in-depth research be conducted before making a decision  that affects many people and future generations.

Sharon Swiggum, Richland Center

  1. December 8, 2012 11:14 AM

    “We’re not talking about small sand, gravel and stone mines and pits to build a block of Shake Rag Street in Mineral Point in 1858.”

    — neither am I, Sally.

    “We’re talking about huge mines …”

    — So am I, Sally. Forget Shake Rag Street. Think the Interstate Highway System, the GEF buildings in Madison, the Epic campus in Verona, etc. etc. I don’t know about where you live but if you drink municipal water you get annual reports on its purity. Madison’s is good stuff! Even Scott Walker’s kids got to drink the water. (BTW: for a little history lesson, the lead mining of the Shake Rag Street era — now THAT was environmentally irresponsible!)

  2. Solly permalink
    December 7, 2012 1:38 PM

    A major point Mr. Blaska, is that we’re not talking about small sand, gravel and stone mines and pits to build a block of Shake Rag Street in Mineral Point in 1858. We’re talking about huge mines to support natural gas fracking and other 2012 industrial uses. And I think a large part of the concern is now with the Walker administration and their “self-report” practices when berms break and rivers and streams that have had huge public and private money investments are polluted. Yeah, the DNR will get right out there, sometime in the next month or two to look it over, and if it’s REALLY bad, they’ll set up a meeting with Cathy Stepp or Scott Gunderson, depending upon which campaign the mine owner donated to while they were in the legislature, and decide on a littering ticket. Wisconsin is up for sale, I mean open for business.

  3. December 7, 2012 11:54 AM

    Zee X, sand and gravel has been mined in the same N. Fitchburg location just south of where I live since the 1950s. It’s now been encroached by urbanization, including a franchised child daycare center. It’s the Wingra operation on McKee Road at Kapec Street. Drive by it some time.

  4. Zee Xenon permalink
    December 6, 2012 5:15 PM

    Please read National Geographic, December 2012 pp 97 – 102 to see an example of how mining companies simply ignore their damage to properties and utilities. The truth is nobody knows what is going to happen. Their promise is as good as a lie. A rock quarry in SE WI destroyed many residential wells, but the defense’s geology “expert” from MI could not convince that the quarry owners were at fault, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Solution for home owners … bottled water and no home sales forever. Another’s dynamiting threw stones into neighbor’s homes. Count how many dump trucks full with rocks or sand are bouncing along the highway at 65 and uncovered. You have permission to dial 911 and direct the law to him.

  5. December 6, 2012 1:20 PM

    ALL mining operations are regulated at the county and state levels in Wisconsin for the simple reason that we would never have any sand and gravel otherwise.

    “Volume, side effects, we’re going to choke to death on the dust, my kids play in the road” (Get them off the road, lady) etc. etc. Believe me, I heard that time and again. We dealt with many sand 7 gravel conditional use permits in my 12 years on the County Board. Dane County is, of course, relatively densely populated. No one wants to be “near” a gravel pit operation. But the nearness is usually a good mile away and berms are required, runoff contained, remediation required, etc. No operations on weekends or after 5 p.m. I can tell you the things are regulated to a fare-thee-well.

    After the operations begin, the Sky Is Falling mentality subsides and folks realize it ain’t so bad and won’t be forever. Plus, they do wonders for the local tax base!

  6. December 6, 2012 11:18 AM

    The concern often is the location of the mining, the volume being taken, the side effects given the large opeations underway, and the lack of local regulations to allow locals to make decisions about their communities.

  7. December 6, 2012 10:03 AM

    Gosh, Deke, they’ve been mining sand (and gravel and stone) in Wisconsin for 150+ years. ( Have you ever been in Fitchburg?) Wisconsin is made out of sand and gravel and stone. (As are the foundation of your home, the street in front of it, and the State Capitol.)

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