According to the LaCrosse Tribune, an outgoing zoning inspector said that Buffalo County, Wis.’s $10,000 fee for a frac sand mining permit is excessive, and the process for acting on permit applications needs to be streamlined. Jake Sedivy, the Buffalo County zoning technician who recently resigned for another position, addressed the board and said the permit fee is substantially higher than those charged in other counties.
He said he’d raised the concern before. Some at the meeting, who spoke of both pros and cons of mining issues and practices, offered the zoning board support for its efforts to address frac sand as the county approaches April 30, the end of its moratorium. Those critical of frac sand mining developments in Buffalo County continued to urge zoning board members to stay on track with studies and implement policies that protect the public from cumulative impacts of permitting too many mines.
A protest over a Winona, Wis., Board of Adjustment’s decision to allow more handling and shipping of fracking sand was recently held at the base of the interstate bridge in Winona. Protesters marched to the city hall carrying 100 lb. of frac sand to call on city leaders to overturn the decision, according to protest organizers.
People in Chippewa County and western Wisconsin – a center for a frac sand industry boom – have raised questions about the long-term impact of mining on groundwater, according to the Chippewa Herald. Dan Masterpole, county conservationist and director of the Chippewa County Land Conservation and Forest Management Department, outlined the county’s groundwater study, which will examine the effects of nonmetallic mining and irrigated agriculture on local waters. Data is currently being collected for the study, conducted by researchers with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey. Several area frac sand companies are participating in the project, providing data to researchers through stream gauges, drilling into the sandstone strata, and monitoring on-site well networks.