Sand Mining Not Good For Wisconsin

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

Jackson County, Wisconsin Battles The Sand Mining Business

What is being allowed to happen in places like Jackson County, Wisconsin is a travesty.

Not for the first time does this blog call attention to the sand mining business that is ruining the land, creating harmful side effects for the health of those who live in the area, while undermining the efforts of locals to control the fate of their communities.

One of the best–and I mean BEST–articles I have read on the dreadful impact of sand mining comes from the Bluecheddar blog site.

Let me open the story for you and then strongly encourage you to read the rest on the blog.

I recently found myself standing in a little township called Franklin in Jackson County in a valley surrounded by high hills.

That day allegedly a threat was reported against all 3 of the township’s board members. It was the 2nd threat in a few weeks.

I and a few Franklin residents circled Chris as we listened to the latest news come out of his speaker phone. We learned that due to the threat, Chris could not reserve the Franklin town hall and that in fact nobody could reserve the hall for the remainder of the week.

The immediate responses of the others suggested they didn’t assume the threat was genuine – that they suspected that an excuse had been found to keep concerned citizens out of the public hall. Nobody would go on the record saying as much.  Keeping controversial statements off-record is common in any Wisconsin township where large-scale sand mines are on the agenda.

This was the 2nd threat related to town government in the last few weeks. A previous threat was allegedly related to one town supervisor’s September 13th “no” vote against allowing the Coulee Frac sand mine.  Now the Jackson County Sheriff is investigating two threats while residents of Franklin wait and wonder whether they will have to endure yet another tense vote on a mine site – a site that at least 240 landowners have said by petition that they do not want.  Franklin Township is populated by about 450 people.***

From Chris’ yard I could see the land that a trio of men plan to strip mine under the name “Coulee Frac Sand LLC”.  As of 5 months ago they became mine prospectors jumping in on an ongoing rush to scoop millions of tons of valuable sand out of Wisconsin’s hills.

Say No To Frack Sand Mining In Wisconsin

Sign the petition.

Frack sand mining companies are threatening to erase Wisconsin’s beautiful wooded hills, bluffs, and rich farmland.

Eighty-seven frack sand facilities are currently operating in Wisconsin, with another 20+ proposed sites. Near my home, in town of Union, Waupaca County, we are currently threatened with a 160-acre proposed mining site. It will permanently alter the landscape of this beautiful rural township and our county, leaving gargantuous, 100+ acre open pit mines.

The mines may potentially leave residents of this community with a life-threatening silicosis lung disease. Our health, our environment, our water, our roads, and our property values are at risk, with the mining company taking little, or no, responsibility for the fallout.

Wisconsin Sand Mining Is Environmental Nightmare, Tough Regulations Needed To Stem Pure Greed

While there is no doubt Wisconsin is suffering from high unemployment, there also needs to be rational thought given to the types of jobs our state creates.  A job that provides a paycheck, but leaves grave environmental concerns behind can easily be understood as not the most advantageous for the state. 

Such is the case with sand mining.

Wisconsin is the nation’s largest producer of the round silica sand used in oil and gas wells used to hold open fractures in bedrock so that the fossil fuels can flow out.

If mine growth continues as predicted, the state Department of Transportation estimates the frac sand industry could generate up to 18,000 truck trips a day to and from processing facilities. Those trucks are projected to fill an estimated 2,250 rail cars daily headed for drilling sites outside of Wisconsin.

The concern over sand mining in such places as Tunnel City runs deep.  Over and over people have registered concerns that sand mining has a negative impact on the land, and also on the quality of life for residents.

Opposition to sand mining has concentrated on air quality, the amount of water required to mine sand, and how this most controversial business will impact tourism in the impacted areas.

There are some local people who have decided to take legal action against the sand mining interests.  They should be applauded for taking a strong position in favor of the environment.  Politicians should note the voices that are rising up against this environmental problem, and join together for a workable solution.

A Buffalo County resident is suing the Board of Adjustment for issuing what he alleges is an illegal mining permit that violates the county’s zoning code and current mining moratorium.

Opponents recently succeeded in blocking a permit for a frac sand processing plant next door to the Cochrane-Fountain City School, a K-12 school in Buffalo County. And opposition to frac sand mining sparked a recall campaign against a board member in the town of Sumner, in Barron County.

Only a greedy type of person could somehow rationalize the harm done to the environment while cashing the check for sand mining.  No job is worth the long-term environmental damage that is resulting from this business.  I am not sure how someone who wreaks havoc on the environment all day, for the sake of cash, reckons that behavior during prayers to God at night.    

My Dad served as Hancock Town Supervisor for 40 years.  One of his constant concerns was the condition of the roads, and how to make sure that large farming equipment did not make for more hardships for taxpayers when busting them up with heavy use.  Dad would have been livid with a sand mine in his area, given the damage the trucking component to this mining business has on local roads. 

Despite the recent rush for mining permits in Wisconsin — the number of permitted and proposed facilities has doubled to 106 in just the past year — sand is not instant money. It’s expensive to transport, and officials in counties including Chippewa and Wood are charging sand companies for wear and tear on local roads.

It is time the state legislature take a firm hand and guide the sand mining interests with strict regulations.  Placing the needs of the environment, as well as those of local taxpayers, above the greed of the sand mining interests is the logical route for the state.

But as we know it is hard for someone to have both a greedy heart and a logical mind.