Village of Knapp approves six-month mining moratoriumThe Knapp Village Board on Tuesday night unanimously passed a six-month moratorium on nonmetallic mining and processing plants, citing the need for more time to study how sand mining could affect the western Dunn County community.
By: By Pamela Powers, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Superior Telegram
KNAPP -- The Knapp Village Board on Tuesday night unanimously passed a six-month moratorium on nonmetallic mining and processing plants, citing the need for more time to study how sand mining could affect the western Dunn County community.
The board also appointed a committee to study and make a recommendation on potential ordinances regarding the land use of potential mining and processing sites.
The move comes amid interest by mining firm Glacier Sand in building sand mining operations in and near the village. The company says it is leasing property rights for a proposed sand mine and wash plant near Knapp, though exact locations have not been disclosed.
Glacier Sand co-owner Brian Iverson of Dillon, Mont., told the Village Board last month that the company had bought some property in the village for a rail transport site and leased some property in the general vicinity of Knapp.
Residents in the nearby towns of Stanton and Lucas also have been approached about sand rights. Both towns recently passed one-year mining moratoriums.
The rush to develop sand mining operations -- which produces a product used elsewhere to extract oil and natural gas in a process known as hydraulic fracturing -- has prompted Eau Claire and Pepin counties to adopt similar moratoriums. As of last month, in west-central Wisconsin there were 32 existing or approved silica sand mining operations and 17 proposed sites -- representing a 29 percent increase since July.
Iverson said his company, which is co-owned by Ike and Ryan Thomas of Texas, would create 100 jobs that pay more than $20 an hour and include health benefits.
Village President Ron Finder said the moratorium could be extended another six months if more time is needed to study the issue.
Said Village Trustee Vickie Schlueter, who made the motion to pass the moratorium: "I think we all need to learn a little bit more about it so we can do what's right for the village residents."
Powers can be reached at 715-556-9018 or email@example.com.
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