The Bridgeport Town Board approved the Pattison Sand Company’s permit application for a 170-acre frac sand mine during a special meeting last Wednesday night. The vote was 2-0 in favor, with Town Board Chairman John Karnopp and Supervisor Mike Steiner voting to approve and Supervisor Rod Marfilius, one of the three landowners of the site, abstaining.
Beth Regan, permits/compliance coordinator for Pattison Sand, said the company is preparing the site for mining. “We will continue to prepare to have a successful operation,” she said.
The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board has yet to approve a permit for the mine, with approximately 41 acres of the proposed mine located within the Riverway boundary. However, Pattison Sand can begin mining in areas not within the Riverway boundary without a permit from the board.
Pattison Sand will begin working with the Bridgeport Planning Commission to develop a landscaping plan to mitigate visual and audio impacts of the mine. The proposed mine is located between the Wisconsin River and Highway 60 a few miles east of Highway 18. The landscaping plan could include fencing, rows of trees, or other buffers along the highway.
Pattison Sand has issued a $164,000 performance bond that it says will cover any possible financial damages associated with the mine.
Despite the presence of about 60 people at last Wednesday’s meeting, no public comment was allowed and Karnopp said any audience member violating that directive would be escorted from the building by Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick, who was present. McCullick said near the end of the meeting that he had received a complaint that the meeting was in violation of the fire code because of too many people in the building. Karnopp and Steiner voted to approve the Pattison permit about 30 seconds later and the meeting was adjourned.
The Riverway Board could take up the Pattison permit application as early as next Thursday in Sauk City, or at the board’s May 9 meeting in Boscobel.