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Proposed Wisconsin Legislation Regulates Sand Mining


The Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association (WISA) announced its support for LRB 3146 and LRB 3408, the Regulatory Certainty Act.

WISA joined Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139, the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Council of Carpenters, the Wisconsin Cast Metals Association, the Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council, Iron Workers District Council of North Central States, Waupaca Foundry, and others in voicing support for the legislation.

The legislation stems from a 2012 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in the case of Zwiefelhofer v. Town of Cooks Valley. The Court’s decision in this case made the regulation of non-metallic mining possible through police power ordinances. As a result of this decision, the non-metallic mining industry, which includes quarries, aggregate producers and industrial sand companies, now faces a patchwork of regulatory uncertainty depending upon where they are located in the state.

WISA said it supports fact- and science-based regulation and operating standards and their enforcement. Creating uncertainty with a patchwork of local rules that can vary among communities, change erratically over time and impose conflicting requirements is counterproductive, the organization said. These local rules don’t protect the environment, health or community any better than existing, very stringent and very effective state and federal regulations - they simply add confusion and stifle responsible growth and business.

“Sand mining has created jobs and other economic benefits in Wisconsin for more than a century,” said Rich Budinger, president of WISA. “But today’s uncertain regulatory environment unreasonably challenges even the very best operators. The Regulatory Certainty Act will continue a high level of protection over the state’s environmental and economic interests and help ensure that industry can keep operating responsibly, creating jobs and investing in Wisconsin.”

“Wisconsin has always had high environmental standards as they relate to air and water quality,” said Wisconsin State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), one of the authors of the Act. “The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has the expertise and resources to ensure that those standards are maintained. Contradictory or duplicative regulations can create a confusing and costly process.”