Officials in western Wisconsin deny frac sand mining permitOfficials in western Wisconsin have rejected a company's request to dig a mine in Trempealeau County, citing environmental concerns and saying the company had only offered a vague outline of its plans.
By: The Associated Press, Superior Telegram
WHITEHALL, Wis. (AP) — Officials in western Wisconsin have rejected a company's request to dig a mine in Trempealeau County, citing environmental concerns and saying the company had only offered a vague outline of its plans.
The county's Land Use Committee voted 5-3 Wednesday to deny the permit sought by AllEnergy Silica. The company was seeking a conditional-use and reclamation mine permit so it could mine nonmetal quarry near the town of Arcadia, the La Crosse Tribune reported.
Several committee members said the company was too vague about how it planned to transport sand and mining output.
"The plan seemed to be rushed," committee member Kathy Zeglin said. "It was revised after the third-party review. It leads one to wonder how many times it may be revised again."
AllEnergy Silica had submitted its permit application before a moratorium on new and expanding frac sand mines became effective Aug. 30. But it provided few details about its reclamation plan.
The mine would have been located over a span of 725 acres. Active mining, including plant facilities, would have taken place on 550 acres.
The company said it planned to invest $45 million in the mine, and company spokesman Mark Riley promised a long-term commitment.
"We've agreed to no trucking at all, we're putting a dry plant in, we're investing in capital infrastructure," Riley said. "We're going to be good stewards of the land."
AllEnergy Silica also promised to return the land to a usable state, a pledge that local residents met with skepticism.
"It's almost funny to hear them say they want to be good neighbors," Arcadia resident John Schultz said. "I hope they apologize for it."
Some committee officials shared his unease. They expressed concern over close the mine would have been to the Trempealeau River and Trout Run Creek.
"The siting does not seem to be in the best interest of our citizens," committee member Jeff Bawek said. "Nor our best use of our resources in Trempealeau County."
Information from: La Crosse Tribune, http://www.lacrossetribune.com