Wisconsin Town Considering Nonmetallic Mining Ordinance

The Trenton, Wis., town board has imposed a moratorium on the expansion of nonmetallic mining operations in the town, according to the Pierce County Herald. An ordinance is now pending for adoption and stipulates the moratorium is to continue for no longer than one year when it’s adopted.

The action applies to frac sand mining and any other mining operations underground, according to Town Clerk Steve Thoms. The frac sand operation existing in the town can continue what it’s been doing, Thoms said, as can the operators of several individual private pits in the town.

The reason for the moratorium on expansion is to allow town officials to work on an ordinance about nonmetallic mining in general, he said. This matter has been considered by the board for quite awhile, but members haven’t been satisfied with what’s been proposed to date and have now retained an outside firm to draft an ordinance.

A notice about the moratorium indicates the town wants time to study the possible impacts that nonmetallic mining operations and processing plants may have on the health, safety and welfare of town residents, including air quality and water quality concerns; potential impact to the infrastructure of the town, property values and the local economy; to allow the town and residents the opportunity to consider the enacting of zoning or other regulatory ordinances; to determine the advisability of amending the town’s comprehensive plan; and to review and consider amending or adopting other police powers, licensing ordinances or zoning ordinances so as to effectively regulate nonmetallic mining operations and related processing plants.

The town’s plan commission will do the study and make final recommendations to the town board at least 90 days before the end of the moratorium, if not earlier. The moratorium ordinance has a penalty provision calling for violators to pay a forfeiture of not less than $1,000 plus surcharges, assessments and costs. Each day a violation exists or continues constitutes a separate offense.

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