Recently, I heard the comment, “Kiss the Highway 60 Wisconsin Scenic Byway goodbye”. With frac sand trucking recently changing the scene along the Wisconsin River, it is only the beginning of the impacts sand mining will bring to our area.
The Crawford County Board put a moratorium on nonmetallic mining in place until October 16, 2012, and the county sand mining study committee is moving forward with a nonmetallic mining ordinance that will likely be completed by the end of August. The ordinance will offer townships and villages a way to regulate frac sand mining.
Any township or village can adopt the ordinance proposed from the county study committee, revise it for themselves, or put zoning and an ordinance in place. One township is already considering passing a moratorium to offer themselves time to work on the best solution for them.
Possible mine sites under consideration include properties in Eastman and Haney Townships, and along the Wisconsin River in Bridgeport, Wauzeka, and likely Marietta and Prairie du Chien Townships. Landowners have been approached in Freeman Township as well as in Allamakee County, IA, across the Lansing Bridge. With all this frac sand mining interest, is there a possibility of a sand processing plant and more rail spurs as well?
Regulation offers citizens and local government controls on the hours of operation, distances from neighboring properties, noise, plus can require mine owners to pay the fees needed for experts and road repairs. Without regulations, citizens and local government are at the mercy of the mining companies willingness (or not) to negotiate with them. The health of all citizens, township resources, and other economic ventures such as tourism and farming, and the property values of neighbors are all at stake.
This issue offers the opportunity for citizens and township boards to work together. Without citizen involvement, your township’s future with frac sand mining is left to your 3 township officials. Get involved.
- Edie Ehlert